Kushner: Palestinians Deserve Self-Determination But Uncertain They Can Govern Themselves

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
middle east peace
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner speaking last month during a discussion on “Inside the Trump Administration’s Middle East Peace Effort,” at a symposium of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

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.”