US presidential adviser Jared Kushner said on Sunday that if Palestinians are unable to meet the conditions of the new Middle East peace plan he crafted, Israel should not take “the risk to recognize them as a state.”
The plan laid out by Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and unveiled Tuesday was warmly embraced by Israel but curtly dismissed by the Palestinian Authority along with others in the region, including the Arab League.
Kushner was challenged by CNN host Fareed Zakaria in a program aired Sunday to explain why demands made of the Palestinians before they are given a state – a free press, free elections, religious freedom, an independent judiciary, and a reliable financial system – did not amount to “a killer amendment.”
“There is no Arab country that would meet these criteria, certainly not Saudi Arabia, Egypt” or other countries Kushner has worked with closely, Zakaria said.
Kushner replied that the Palestinian territories amount to “a police state... not exactly a thriving democracy.”
“For the Palestinians, if they want their people to live better lives, we now have a framework to do it,” he said.
“If they don’t think they can uphold these standards, then I don’t think we can get Israel to take the risk to recognize them as a state.”
Kushner added: “The only thing more dangerous than what we have now is a failed state.”
Trump unveiled the plan in a White House event attended by a smiling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who applauded it as “a great plan for Israel... (and) a great plan for peace.”