U.S.: Israeli-Palestinian status quo “unsustainable”

White House senior Adviser Jared Kushner has warned that the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict is getting more and more unsustainable, a reality that demands concrete and realistic breakthroughs.

During a Q&A session at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the top Presidential aide insisted that despite the lack of trust between Israelis and Palestinians, the so-called “deal of the century” will put forward a solution that Washington believes “is a good starting point for the political issues.” Kushner  said: “What we will be able to put together is a solution (to address the IsraeliPalestinian conflict) that we believe is a good starting point for the political issues and then an outline for what economically can be done to help these people start living a better life.”

When asked about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election pledge to assert Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, two out of the three regions that comprise the so-called West Bank, Kushner voiced hope that both the Israelis and Palestinians would first assess the proposed initiative, “before any unilateral steps are made.” According to President Donald Trump’s Senior Adviser, “I have not discussed this (possibility of Israel annexing West Bank settlements when new Israeli government is formed) with the Prime Minister (Israel’s Netanyahu) and I do hope that what will happen is that as he forms his government, we’ve been giving him space to do that, I do imagine that once there is a government formed we’ll start engaging on this process and we’ll have a discussion. And I do hope that what we’re doing, I’d said I hope both sides will take a real look at it, the Israeli side and the Palestinian side before any unilateral steps are made and I hope that they’ll look at it and assess it and see if they do believe that this is a pathway for a better future.”

On the matter of Jerusalem, Trump’s senior adviser emphasized that the ancient city was and always will be the capital of the state of Israel, and by acknowledging this reality, the White House simply ‘made a decision to recognize truth.’ “When we made the decision to recognize Jerusalem the president (Trump) asked you know will this make your job easier or harder?. And the answer I gave him was I think short term it’s probably harder because people will be more reactive and emotional, they are not used, you know, to a president that is keeping his word, taking tough decisions and doing what he thinks is right in that regard and so I said you know this is going to be a different thing I said but long term I think it helps because what we need to start doing is just recognizing truth. And I think that when we recognize Jerusalem that is the truth, you know Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that would be part of any final agreement anyway and I think,” Kushner said.

Jared Kushner was also asked about the U.S. Administration’s policy vis-à-vis Iran, to which Trump’s senior adviser responded by saying: “If you think about what the president’s done to get out of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the Iran deal. I think we’ve tried to do everything we can to make sure that all of the different areas where they’re being aggressive, whether it’s Yemen, whether it’s Syria, whether it’s with Hamas, whether it’s Hezbollah, to make sure that we limit their resources so that so that they’re not able to export terror in the way that they have done. And the administration has been very clear with Iran is that we want to be able to work with Iran, but we want them to not be looking outward.”