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Kushner believes Palestinians can’t govern themselves, are more concerned with mortgages than statehood

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Senior advisor and son-in-law to US President Donald Trump is making headlines again for comments he made in a television interview on Sunday, insinuating that he didn’t believe Palestinians were capable of governing themselves.

Kushner’s controversial statements were made during a sit-down interview with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan who covered a range of topics, including Kushner’s views on Middle East peace — something he has been tasked with achieving by the US administration.

Swan posed the question of whether Kushner believed that Palestinians were “capable of governing themselves without Israeli interference,” to which Kushner responded with, essentially, ‘not yet.’

Here is the full exchange as reported by Slate:

Swan: Do you believe that the Palestinians are capable of governing themselves without Israeli interference?

Kushner: I think that’s a very good question. I think that that’s one that we’ll have to see. The hope is is that they, over time, can become capable of governing …

Swan: They being the Palestinians.

Kushner: The Palestinians. I think there are some things that the current Palestinian government has done well, and there are some things that are lacking. And I do think that in order for the area to be investable, for investors to come in and want to invest in different industries and infrastructure and create jobs, you do need to have a fair judicial system, freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions, and so …

Swan: Can they have freedom from any Israeli government or military interference?

Kushner: I think that it’s a high bar.

According to Al Jazeera, Kushner avoided explicitly saying whether his peace plan would include a two-state solution — something he has avoided ever since he began promoting his plan, leading many to believe the so-called “deal of the century” will feature no such thing as an independent Palestinian state.

When asked if he believed the Palestinian people deserve their own independent sovereign state with a capital in East Jerusalem, one of the core demands of the Palestinians, Kushner skirted around the question, saying he believe Palestinians were more concerned with “the opportunity to pay their mortgage.”

Here is the full exchange:

Swan: Do you believe the Palestinian people deserve their own independent sovereign state with a capital in East Jerusalem?

Kushner: There’s a difference between the technocrats, and there’s a difference between the people. The technocrats are focused on very technocratic things, and when I speak to Palestinian people, what they want is they want the opportunity to live a better life. They want the opportunity to pay their mortgage, to have …

Swan: You don’t think they want their own state, free from Israeli government and military?

Kushner: I think that they want an opportunity.

For many watching the interview, the entire portion on Palestine and the peace process featured what seemed like one insult after the other, coming from an already despised person among Palestinians.

During the interview, Swan asked Kushner if he understood why he was not trusted among the Palestinians, who have boycotted the US government and its peace process since December 2017, when Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“I’m not here to be trusted,” Kushner said, adding that he believed Palestinians would judge the plan based on whether they think it “will allow them to have a pathway to a better life or not.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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26 Responses

  1. just on June 3, 2019, 8:17 pm

    Thanks, Yumna.

    “… when I speak to Palestinian people, what they want is they want the opportunity to live a better life. They want the opportunity to pay their mortgage, to have … …”

    I guess he really doesn’t talk to Palestinians at all. Really, “the opportunity to pay their mortgages”? That is so crazy , but I suppose it’s natural for this son of a felon, real estate developer/investor (don’t forget his investments in illegal settlements), etc. to go there. I guess he has never been to Gaza or East Jerusalem… How do you pay a mortgage on something that has been demolished and/or stolen?


    • zaid on June 5, 2019, 3:53 am

      Palestinians are more concerned with getting back the millions of dunams that were stolen from them in 1948 and that will surely cover the mortgages and much more.

      • Mayhem on June 7, 2019, 10:11 pm

        @zaid, to paraphrase what you have said to make it factual, “Palestinians, who have manufactured their narrative in the 20th century, would like to get back the land they lost when they tried to destroy the emergent state of Israel, a nation that has created such extraordinary wealth and success that they look upon it with hate, greed and envy.”

      • oldgeezer on June 8, 2019, 12:51 am

        “a nation that has created such extraordinary wealth and success ”

        You’re chuckles the clown and I claim the 5 bucks.

      • oldgeezer on June 8, 2019, 1:34 am

        lol like the zionist narrative isn’t 100% manufactured in the 20th century having been rejected by Jewish people world wide for almost half of that century.

        Israel is a criminal rogue state. zionism is racism.

      • zaid on June 8, 2019, 4:12 am

        “As of 1947, Jews in Palestine owned UNDER 7% of the Palestine’s

        There are no honor in becoming rich through theft

      • eljay on June 8, 2019, 6:31 am

        || Mayhem: … Palestinians … would like to get back the land they lost when they tried to destroy the emergent state of Israel, a nation that has created such extraordinary wealth and success that they look upon it with hate, greed and envy. … ||

        Yup, it’s amazing how much “extraordinary wealth and success” a state can create when it has the unquestioning economic, political, financial and military support of a world superpower.

        I guarantee that if the U.S. were to spend the next 70 years…
        – lavishing unquestioning economic, political, financial and military support upon the Palestinians; and
        – economically, politically, financially and militarily crushing Israel,
        …Israelis would be looking upon the Palestinians’ extraordinary wealth and success with hate, greed and envy.

      • Mayhem on June 8, 2019, 9:14 pm

        @zaid, you are happy to spread lies about Jews stealing Palestinian land to advance your fake narrative. Read LAND OWNERSHIP IN PALESTINE, 1880–1948″ to appreciate what really happened.

        “The claim is often made that in 1948 a Jewish minority owning only 5 per cent of the land of Palestine made itself master of the Arab majority, which owned 95 per cent of the land.

        In May 1948 the State of Israel was established in only part of the area allotted by the original League of Nations Mandate. 8.6 percent of the land was owned by Jews and 3.3 per cent by Israeli Arabs, while 16.9 per cent had been abandoned by Arab owners who imprudently heeded the call from neighbouring countries to “get out of the way” while the invading Arab armies made short shrift of Israel. The rest of the land—over 70 per cent—had been vested in the Mandatory Power, and accordingly reverted to the State of Israel as its legal heir. (Government of Palestine, Survey of Palestine, 1946, British Government Printer, p. 257.)

        The greater part of this 70 per cent consisted of the Negev, some 3,144,250 acres all told, or close to 50 per cent of the 6,580,000 acres in all of Mandatory Palestine. Known as Crown or State Lands, this was mostly uninhabited arid or semi-arid territory, inherited originally by the Mandatory Government from Turkey. In 1948 it passed to the Government of Israel.

        These lands had not been owned by Arab farmers—neither under the British Mandate nor under the preceding regime. Thus it is obvious that the contention that 95 per cent of the land—whether of Mandatory Palestine or of the State of Israel—had belonged to Arabs has absolutely no foundation in fact.”

      • zaid on June 10, 2019, 3:14 pm


        When i bring you official britich statistics from “A Survey of Palestine prepared by the British Mandate for the UN”
        Please dont respond with incoherent hasbara mumbojumbo.

        You article is full of misinforamtions lies and half truths.

        By the way the survey of Palestine (available online) have alot of interesting data that shows that jewish ownerships,production and demographics were insiginificant in Palestine even in the late 1940s

        Every body interersted should go through the survey:


        Land planted by jews 425
        Land planted by Arabs 5485

      • mondonut on June 10, 2019, 6:08 pm

        @zaid , Every body interersted should go through the survey:

        You are correct, it is interesting.

        Palestinian Value per Dunam: 3.11
        Jewish Value per Dunam: 11.07

      • zaid on June 11, 2019, 10:53 am

        Palestinian production value: 17.4 million (78%)
        Jewish production value: 4.7 million (22%)

        So jews even with advanced european methods produced 22% although they weremore than 30% of the population.

        Palestinians made the desert bloom

      • Mayhem on June 18, 2019, 9:34 pm

        @zaid, in classic non-response fashion you say, “You article is full of misinforamtions lies and half truths.” without one direct refutation of what is said there. And then you take me to Pallywag land where you cite ‘Palestine Remembered’ which is nothing more than a confection of pro-Palestinian propaganda. Well done!

      • MHughes976 on June 19, 2019, 5:15 pm

        The Palestinians may be entitled to a bit of resentment. It is not true that fleeing a war zone is or begins to be an abandonment of one’s property rights, still less of one’s rights of citizenship. If land is held in feudal manner, ultimately by the sovereign, it is be used in a fashion that is of general benefit for those over whom sovereign power is exercised, not for a subset of them.

  2. brent on June 4, 2019, 12:16 am

    Few believe Israel has actually been serious about finding an agreement with the Palestinians, so it is unlikely it would publish a working proposal.

    With the Trump/Kushner plan high centered, Israel going into an election phase with the US not too far behind, it may be good timing for the PA to initiate a process designed to publish a working plan for an agreement. In the past consideration has been given to limiting the right of return to a symbolic number and land swaps have been considered to deal with the settlements.

    It would be healthy to have the plausibility of having two states examined in public to determine if that is still an option or, as so many believe, its appropriate to move to one state considerations.

  3. CHUCKMAN on June 4, 2019, 3:40 am

    How utterly patronizing.

    What a privileged and prejudiced man.

    But what else would you expect from a Trump son-in-law given an office in the White House despite having no background, no experience, and no knowledge?

    He much resembles Trump in those characteristics, and Trump is always totally focused on himself.

  4. RoHa on June 4, 2019, 8:28 am

    The Palestinians probably can’t govern themselves very well, but the only way to learn it is by doing it. It can take a long time.

    It seems pretty obvious to those of us in other countries that Americans are not capable of democracy, and the current Brexit chaos suggests that the British have forgotten what they learned.

    Israel doesn’t have a government right now.

    Maybe Norway and San Marino can be regarded as more or less successful examples of self-government.

  5. Mustacq Abdullah on June 4, 2019, 9:55 am

    Now this useful idiot just got a promotion! He is actually more stupid than his father-in-law! Wow! And here I thought he was the brains in that family.

  6. pgtl10 on June 4, 2019, 11:11 am

    Mortgages? This guy doesn’t know Palestinians if he think mortgages is their biggest problem.

  7. Ronald Johnson on June 4, 2019, 11:47 am

    Aw C’mon, Jared isn’t altogether dumb. He unloaded the $1.8 billion 666 Fifth Avenue liability onto a Canadian fund called Brookfield Assets Management – a 99-year lease paid in advance! Let’s not assume, either, that Brookfield Assets Management is stupid; it will work out in the end. Much to the chagrin of Qatar, apparently:

    We are living in America’s “Weimar phase”, where anything goes – with opioids aplenty:

    • Mooser on June 4, 2019, 12:41 pm

      “We are living in America’s “Weimar phase”, where anything goes – with opioids aplenty”

      Yeah, and we know what the cure for all that sex, drugs and art in Weimar is.

    • Citizen on June 4, 2019, 1:09 pm

      “We are living in America’s “Weimar phase”, where anything goes – with opioids aplenty”

      Maybe somebody will produce a Cabaret sequel which takes place in America? Looks like some of the Jewish Americans who pushed for the 1965 Immigration Act & poo-pooed protesters fearing the impact of anchor babies and chain migration on America’s demography, choosing instead to focus on diluting the whites as a way of diluting their assumed neo-Nazi penchant–may now be changing their tune. David Duke is a joke, but those new brown girls from the Middle East in the House are not? My goodness, how can we turn them into a joke too? Get on it, fellow Zionists.

  8. Vera Gottlieb on June 4, 2019, 2:22 pm

    Who? What? gives him the right to denigrate Palestinians?

    • just on June 4, 2019, 4:27 pm

      He’s the grand, spoiled, rich, waxy one who supports illegal settlements unreservedly. He’s the entitled and vacuous son- in- law of POTUS and the son of a felon. He has security clearance that I will never understand and is buddies with Netanyahu.

      The EU said this today after meeting with him:

      “EU Chiefs Tell Kushner: Peace Plan Has to Take Into Account Palestinians and Israelis’ Aspirations

      After keeping Europeans largely in the dark about plan, senior U.S. adviser meets European Commission president and EU foreign policy chief in Brussels …

      … A statement released by the European officials following the meeting said that both Juncker and Mogherini stressed to Kushner that any economic solutions the U.S. administration offers the Palestinians have to be accompanied by a “viable political solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinians and the Israelis,” and that it must also agree with accepted “international parameters.”

      The officials also noted that the European Union is seeking a “lasting and sustainable peace in the region,” and called for economic development in the Middle East. …

      …U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has been reticent in sharing details of the peace deal with the EU. European officials were not invited to the summit in Bahrain, at which the United States is expected to unveil the economic components of its plan.

      A coalition of NGOs expressed concern about the peace plan, and called on the officials meeting with Kushner to reject any plan “that does not embrace principles of international law.” …”

      He also hangs around with the other appointees responsible for this debacle~ Friedman, Greenblatt, et al. He’s most unqualified, and so is the US team.

  9. webmeist on June 9, 2019, 11:38 am

    The quality of your writing does the topic justice.
    Thank you for that.

  10. jackal on June 9, 2019, 6:05 pm

    I rarely make comments on this site because after reading those of the pro-zionists, who are here simply to antagonize anyone who supports the Palestinians, it is enough to make me barf my breakfast. Nearly every comment from the Zionist faction is so deliberately false it simply reeks of the propaganda that is fed to them daily. All the Jewish writers in my library of books – Shlomo Sand, Max Blumenthal, Ilan Pappe, Miko Peled, Gideon Levy, Norman Finklestein, to name just a few – acknowledge the theft of Palestinian lands and mark the daily influx of millions of dollars from the States that keeps Israel afloat. As has been suggested by numerous comments, Israel would not be where it is today, with its well-equipped army through German reparations and American military gifts, and the money given them by those stupid, stupid evangelicals throughout the world.

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