Palestinians deserve self-determination but uncertain they can govern themselves

BAHRAIN IS preparing to host an event devoted to the US peace plan

BAHRAIN IS preparing to host an event devoted to the US peace plan

Mr Kushner, a senior White House adviser and architect of the White House peace plan to end the decades-long conflict, told the Axios on HBO programme, "I do think they should have self-determination", before saying it would be a high bar if they were to become free of a crippling Israeli military occupation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. 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.

According to excerpts from the interview published late Sunday on the Axios website, Kushner said the Palestinians "need to have a fair judicial system. freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions" before the Palestinian territories can become "investable".

"Look, I wasn't really involved in that", Kushner said after a pause.

Last week the pair met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, but did not hold talks with Palestinians, who broke off diplomatic contact with Washington after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv previous year.

Last month, Kushner indicated that the USA would be pulling back from its long-standing support of the two-state solution.

"If you don't have a proper governance structure and proper security, when people are living in fear of terror, that hurts the Palestinians, it hurts the Israelis just the same", Mr Kushner said.

The Palestinian Authority has said it will not attend a USA -sponsored investment conference in late June in Bahrain where the economic component is expected to be unveiled.

In the interview, Mr Kushner repeatedly criticised Palestinian leaders, drawing a distinction between their drive for an independent state and what he said was the Palestinian people's desire to live in peace and prosperity.

USA officials have been vague about the timing for releasing proposals for resolving the thorny political issues at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Mr Trump relocated the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively recognising the contested city as Israel's, cut all aid to the United Nations refugee agency and to hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem that treat sick Palestinians.

The Palestinians demand Jerusalem's eastern sector as the capital of their long-promised state, while Israel insists that the whole city is its "eternal, indivisible capital".

(L-R) Brian Hook, US special representative for Iran, Trump adviser Jared Kushner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and Israel's US envoy Ron Dermer, at a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on May 30, 2019.

The Kushner interview took place before the latest Israeli political developments.

Kushner said he expects the Palestinian people to not "judge anything based on trusting me", but rather review the peace plan "based on the facts and then make a determination: Do they think this will allow them to have a pathway to a better life or not?"

Speaking to U.S. news site Axios, Kushner also said he was not concerned over whether the Palestinians do not trust him since they will base their decisions on whether the plan will improve their lives.

He expressed hope, however, that the deal was not simply dismissed out of hand, the Post reported.

In a Twitter response, chief Palestinian negotiator Mr Erekat said that the Trump administration was "planning prosperity for the settlers" and called on Arab states "not to talk to these settlers", identifying Mr Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and USA ambassador to Israel David Friedman by name. I think it can be done.

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