Exclusive: Kushner reveals logic behind Palestinian ‘opportunity of the century’
US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, called his economic plan for the Palestinian people “very ambitious” and the feedback “phenomenal”.
Asked about how tens of billions of dollars will be raised for the plan, Kushner said: “The amount of money required to do this is actually less money on an annual basis than what the Palestinians are getting currently,” referring to the annual donor aid that the Palestinians receive.
Kushner also added that a lot of the people present in the workshop are interested in investing in it.
“We think we can double the GDP for the Palestinian people, improve their standard of life, create over a million new jobs, reduce the unemployment rate to below 10%, and reduce the poverty rate by about 50%,” Kushner told Al Arabiya’s Nadine Khammash in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the US-led “Peace to Prosperity” workshop in Bahrain’s Manama.
“What we want to do is put the money in a much smarter way, and we want to make sure that it’s transparent. We want to make sure that we’re rewarding results, and not just rewarding the efforts,” Kushner added.
Explaining why the economic part of the peace plan has been announced before the political one, Kushner said that “the goal is to get everyone to agree on what an economic potential could be, if there was a peace agreement,” adding that if the two sides don’t see the positives of agreeing to a peace plan, “neither party will ever have the courage to think to make the compromises needed” for a political solution.
However, the US decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the eastern part of which Palestinians consider their capital, lowered the odds of Palestinians trusting the US as a mediator between them and the Israelis, something they have expressed through demonstrations during the time of the workshop, but Kushner thinks otherwise.
“I think that in the Middle East right now, people realize that President Trump keeps his word… he has said that he wants to do a good job for the Palestinian people. He wants to help them improve their lives, and he wants to bring a fair peace deal… and I think the Palestinian people should take him at his word,” Kushner said.