Jared Kushner hopeful about Mideast peace chances

Washington (AFP) –


Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and special advisor, has defended his policy of punishing the Palestinians to push them into new peace talks with Israel.

In an interview with the New York Times published three days after the US administration evicted the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from its Washington offices, Kushner said the controversial method would eventually yield results.

"There were too many false realities that were created — that people worship — that I think needed to be changed," he said.

"All we're doing is dealing with things as we see them and not being scared out of doing the right thing. I think, as a result, you have a much higher chance of actually achieving a real peace," he said.

The Palestinian Authority has suspended all contact with the Trump administration after the president ordered the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, whose eastern area the Palestinians claim as their own capital.

The administration has also slashed hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian refugee agencies and aid groups.

"Nobody is entitled to American aid," Kushner said, insisting that the peace talks were not stalled.

"In every negotiation I've ever been in," he said, "before somebody gets to 'yes,' their answer is 'no,'" he told the newspaper.

The White House has not released a deadline to present what Trump has called the "ultimate deal" between Israeli and the Palestinians.

Whether by design or chance, the date chosen to close the PLO's Washington offices coincided with the 25th anniversary of the signing of Oslo peace accords, which were meant to bring peace and pave the way for Palestinian statehood, but which achieved neither.