After a series of angry threats over reports of president-elect Donald Trump’s intention to move the U.S. embassy to Yerushalayim, Palestinian Authority officials were rather subdued in their reaction to the news on Monday that his son-in-law Jared Kushner will be the next Mideast peace envoy from the White House.
They even sounded a note of cautious optimism. “We hope that Mr. Kushner will be the U.S. peace envoy and will be able to do what all of his predecessors have tried to do, and will finally achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” Husam Zomlot, PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s adviser for strategic affairs, told The Jerusalem Post. “This is a position that requires a firm commitment to the U.S.’s long held policies.”
Zomlot also said he found encouragement in the appointment being made before the inauguration, a possible indication that Trump is seriously committed to resuming Mideast peace efforts.
“It’s a good sign that President-elect Trump early on appointed one of his closest people to him, his son-in-law, to take this task,” Zomlot added. “We don’t just see the glass half-empty, but also half-full. We see the commitment by President-elect Trump to intervene as early as possible and spend political capital to resolve this issue.”
Trump sounded buoyantly optimistic about Kushner’s peacemaking prospects, despite lack of diplomatic experience and the frustrations of his predecessors.
In an interview with Britain’s Times of London and Germany’s Bild, Trump said:
“Ya know what, Jared is such a good kid and he’ll make a deal with Israel that no one else can. He’s a natural, he’s a great deal, he’s a natural— ya know what I was talking about, natural — he’s a natural deal-maker — everyone likes him.”