White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that the Palestinians deserve “self-determination” but stopped short of backing Palestinian statehood and expressed uncertainty over their ability to govern themselves.
Kushner, an architect of the White House’s yet-to-be-released Middle East peace plan, told Axios it would be a “high bar” when asked if the Palestinians could expect freedom from Israeli military and government interference.
Kushner again avoided saying explicitly whether the plan would include a two-state solution, the bedrock of U.S. policy for decades, calling for a Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Yerushalayim.
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.”
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.”