Jared Kushner says US will soon present Trump's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, with or without Abbas

Our Foreign Staff
Jared Kushner expressed doubts that the Palestinian leadership would be willing to make a deal - REUTERS

Jared Kushner, senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, said Washington would announce its Middle East peace plan soon, and press on with or without Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

The comments underlined gaping divisions between Washington and the Palestinian leadership that have widened since Mr Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December and moved the US Embassy to the city, overriding decades of US policy.

Palestinian officials, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, accused Mr Kushner of trying to undermine Mr Abbas and what they described as their leader's moderate camp.

Mr Kushner, who is married to Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka, is meeting leaders in the region, but not Mr Abbas. 

He told Palestinian newspaper Al Quds in an interview published on Sunday, that he doubted whether the Palestinian president was willing or able to seal a deal.

"If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage; if he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly," Mr Kushner said, according to an English transcript of his words provided by Washington.

Profile | Jared Kushner

"However, I do question how much President Abbas has the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal. He has his talking points which have not changed in the last 25 years," he added.

Mr Kushner appealed directly to the Palestinian people and portrayed Mr Abbas, 82, as a leader entrenched in the past.

"There have been countless mistakes and missed opportunities over the years, and you, the Palestinian people, have paid the price," said Mr Kushner, who is on the trip with US envoy Jason Greenblatt.

"Don’t let your leadership reject a plan they haven’t even seen," he added.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his wife, Sara, take a selfie with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner at the opening of the new embassy Credit: Israel Press Office /Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Mr Abbas has refused to see Mr Trump's team since the embassy decision, accusing Washington of pro-Israel bias.

"This (US) administration is really trying to destroy the Palestinian moderate camp. They want to throw us into chaos and anarchy," said Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians' chief negotiator.

"The road to peace is clear - commitment to the two-state solution, a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. This is the road to any negotiations or any meetings," said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Abbas.