Published: 2019-05-03 12:28
Last Updated: 2019-05-03 12:40
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said on Thursday he hopes Israel will take a hard look at President Donald Trump’s upcoming Middle East peace proposal before proceeding with any plan to annex West Bank settlements.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had vowed in the waning days of a re-election campaign he won on April 9 to annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, in a move that would be bound to trigger condemnation from the Palestinians and the Arab world and complicate the U.S. peace effort.
Kushner, speaking at a dinner of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the Middle East peace proposal he has been putting together was close to release and that Israel and the Palestinians should wait to see it before making any unilateral moves.
He said the issue would be discussed with the Israeli government when Netanyahu forms a governing coalition.
“I hope both sides will take a real look at it, the Israeli side and the Palestinian side, before any unilateral steps are made,” Kushner said, adding he had not discussed the issue of settlement annexation with Netanyahu.
Kushner and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt have spent the past two years developing the peace proposal in the hopes it will provide a framework for a renewed dialogue between the Israelis and Palestinians.
The Palestinians have refused to talk to the U.S. side since Trump decided to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, all territory Israel captured in 1967.
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, is expected to unveil his proposals in June after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
“What we will be able to put together is a solution that we believe is a good starting point for the political issues and then an outline for what can be done to help these people start living a better life,” Kushner said.
“I was given the assignment of trying to find a solution between the two sides and I think what we’ll put forward is a framework that I think is realistic ... it’s executable and it’s something that I do think will lead to both sides being much better off,” Kushner said.