White House senior adviser says he hopes Palestinians will become ‘capable of governing’ and denies Trump is racist in rare interview
Guardian staff and agencies
Mon 3 Jun 2019
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has expressed uncertainty over the ability of Palestinians to self-govern, in a rare television interview broadcast on Sunday night.
Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and an architect of the White House’s yet-to-be-released Middle East peace plan, told the “Axios on HBO” television program it would be a “high bar” when asked if the Palestinians could expect freedom from Israeli military and government interference.
The Palestinian leadership has boycotted a diplomatic effort that Trump has hailed as the “deal of the century.” Although Kushner has been drafting the plan for two years under a veil of secrecy, it is seen by Palestinian and some Arab officials as tilting heavily in Israel’s favour and denying them a state of their own.
Kushner again avoided saying explicitly whether the plan would include a two-state solution, the bedrock of US policy for decades, calling for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with its capital in East Jerusalem.
But he said: “I do think they should have self-determination. I’m going to leave the details until we come out with the actual plan.”
I’m not here to be trusted
Asked whether he believed the Palestinians were capable of governing themselves without Israeli interference, Kushner said: “That’s a very good question. That’s one that we’ll have to see. The hope is that they, over time, will become capable of governing.”
The Palestinians, he said, “need to have a fair judicial system … freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions” before the Palestinian areas can become “investable”.
Asked whether he understood why the Palestinians might not trust him, Kushner said: “I’m not here to be trusted” and that he believed the Palestinian people would judge the plan based on whether “they think this will allow them to have a pathway to a better life or not.”