US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has suggested in an interview that the Palestinians are not ready to govern themselves ahead of the expected release of his peace plan.
Speaking to US 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.
“The hope is, is that over time, they can become capable of governing,” Kushner said when asked if he believes the Palestinians can govern themselves without Israeli interference.
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”.
Kushner told Axios that the Palestinians “should have self-determination”, without saying whether that would mean an independent state or some lesser form of autonomy.
He has previously hinted that the plan will not endorse creating a Palestinian state.
In the Axios interview, Kushner said “I think that it’s a high bar” when asked if the Palestinians could expect freedom from any Israeli governmental or military interference.
“If you don’t have a proper government structure and proper security when people are living in fear of terror, that hurts Palestinians,” he said.
The Palestinian leadership has already dismissed the upcoming peace plan, saying Trump’s actions so far have shown him to be blatantly biased in favour of Israel.
Those actions include declaring the disputed city of Jerusalem Israel’s capital, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in Palestinian aid and closing the Palestinians’ de facto embassy in Washington.
“I’m not here to be trusted,” Kushner told Axios, adding he differentiates between the Palestinians and their leaders.
He said he believes the Palestinian people will look at “the facts and then make a determination: Do they think this will allow them to have a pathway to a better life or not?”
The interview was recorded before Kushner’s visit to Jerusalem last week, a trip that also included stops in Morocco and Jordan.
The peace plan was previously delayed over Israel’s April 9 general elections and could now face further postponements related to Israeli politics.
Israel will go to the polls again on September 17 after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition, and such a plan is considered too sensitive by many analysts to introduce during an electoral campaign.