President Trump’s solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Scrap the two-state solution and maintain Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Rabat – President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has shed some light into the Trump administration’s “deal of the century” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Although Kushner was vague in explaining the implications of Trump’s plan for Middle East peace, the bits he mentioned allow for a reading of an aggressively pro-Israel plan.
The plan, which has been in the making for two years, is scheduled to be released in the first week of June. Asked about its most crucial points, Kushner argued that the goal is to preserve Israel’s security while making financial provisions to better Palestinian lives.
Two-state solution is the problem
Trump’s plan reiterates the president’s right-wing and Israel-friendly tweets and comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The two-state solution, which has been the anchor of decades-long US policy on the conflict, is set to be sidestepped as Trump’s plan reaffirms Israel’s “historical right” to Jerusalem.
“If you say ‘two-state’, it means one thing to the Israelis, it means one thing to the Palestinians,” Kushner told his audience at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “We said, you know, let’s just not say it. Let’s just say, let’s work on the details of what this means.”
President Trump came under fire in the first months of his presidency when he pledged unwavering support for Israel’s stance on Jerusalem.
The city has historically been a holy site for the three Abrahamic religions, and East Jerusalem has been inhabited by the city’s Arab residents.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a prospective Palestinian state. But ditching the two-state solution implies that Trump’s peace plan includes effective acknowledgement by Palestinians of Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel.
Kushner said that Trump had asked him for advice before making his controversial Jerusalem move.
“The answer I gave him was I think short term it’s probably harder, because people will be more reactive and emotional,” Kushner explained. “But long term I think it helps because what we need to start doing is just recognizing truths, and I think that when we recognized Jerusalem, that is a truth – Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and that would be part of any final agreement anyway.”
Palestinian representatives have made it abundantly clear that Trump’s rhetoric mean he cannot be a reliable broker. As soon as Trump announced his “deal of the century” a few months back, the Palestinian leadership was quick to respond that it would boycott any initiative overseen by Trump.
According to Kushner, however, reactions to Trump’s plan have been emotional and ideological. He said cynics, including the Palestinian leadership, are criticizing Trump’s plan without knowing what its recommendations are.
“If they truly cared about making the lives of the Palestinian people better, I think they would have taken very different decisions over the past year – and maybe over the last 20 years.”
As far as Kushner is concerned, Trump’s deal is set to break the traditional two-state approach that he believes has failed the region’s peace prospects.
Trump, Kushner argued, wants to “change the discussion.” He said Trump’s approach lies in trying something different to either broker peace or fail differently. “Our approach has been, if we’re going to fail, we don’t want to fail doing it the same way it’s been done in the past,” he said.
Further discrediting the Palestinian leaders’ commitment to the cause of the Palestinian people, Kushner claimed that the Palestinian businessmen and ordinary people his team spoke to were happy with some aspects of the deal. According to Kushner, the deal would be “very acceptable to them.”