Palestinians Can’t Be Stuck in the Past, Should Come to Negotiating Table, Kushner Says in UAE


The Trump son-in-law and senior presidential advisor arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Monday afternoon to cement the recently unveiled UAE-Israel agreement on the normalization of ties. Palestinian officials blasted the UAE’s decision as a “cowardly” move which “betrays” Palestinian interests.

Jared Kushner has urged Palestinians to stop living in the past, and said that a lasting peace would be “ready for them…as soon as they are ready to embrace it.”

“We can’t want peace more than they want peace. When they are ready, the whole region is very excited to help lift them up and help move them forward. But they can’t be stuck in the past,” Kushner said, speaking to reporters after touching down in the UAE on Monday.

The Palestinian Authority has called the newly-agreed Israeli-UAE normalization deal a betrayal of their interests, dubbing it “an aggression against the Palestinian people.” Hamas, the political and militant group which controls Gaza, echoed this sentiment, accusing the UAE of ‘stabbing Palestinians in the back’ and rewarding “the Israeli occupation.”

Kushner, the architect of the US’s Mideast peace plan unveiled by the Trump administration earlier this year, said that until the Palestinian side comes forward, Israel and countries in the region should come together and improve their economic, technology and security cooperation.

Earlier, Palestinian officials and Arab nations broadly denounced the peace plan, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas saying it belonged in the “garbage can of history” and that Jerusalem was “not for sale.”

The Trump plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace calls for a two-state solution, recognition of Israeli claims to settlements in the West Bank, Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, and the recognition of Jerusalem as the country’s capital. For the Palestinian side, the plan proposes a $50 billion fund for infrastructure and investment, as well as a few neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem for a Palestnian capital.

‘Historic’ Trip

Kushner traveled to the UAE aboard an Israeli plane alongside Trump National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and senior Israeli officials on Monday to cement the recently unveiled UAE-Israeli peace plan. Calling the trip “historic,” Kushner also thanked Saudi authorities for allowing the plane to fly through Saudi airspace on its way to the UAE.

“They were very gracious to allow us to fly over their airspace, which they’ve never done before, for an Israeli commercial plane. And so this, again, is another historic breakthrough,” he said.

Historic pictures of Jared Kushner, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash and Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabat during a meeting in Abu Dhabi. #UAEIsrael

— Ali Al Shouk (@alialshouk) August 31, 2020

Kushner called on other Arab nations to join the UAE in establishing normalized ties with Israel. “The future does not have to be predetermined by the past. This is a very hopeful time,” he said.

The UAE is the first Arab nation in the Persian Gulf and just the third Arab country generally to forge a peace agreement with Israel after Egypt and Jordan did so in 1979 and 1994, respectively. A majority of Arab countries have refused to recognize Israel since its foundation in 1948, and have fought multiple wars with Tel Aviv over the past seven decades, in part to try to decide the fate of the Palestinians.

Monday’s meetings between US, Emirati and Israeli officials are expected to finalize the peace pact between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi which was announced on August 13. Under the deal, Israel agreed to suspend its plans to ‘apply sovereignty’ to much of the West Bank. Both sides have agreed to exchange embassies and to grow cooperation on trade, security, education, tourism, and other areas.



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