Kushner’s New Interview with Palestinian-Arab Editor (with transcript & good/bad analysis)

Jared Kushner’s new interview — given to an Arab editor — has good points.

But the good points are not even close to being enough to compensate for the great dangers that Kushner is poised to push Israel into.

Bad —
REPORTER: What are the points that are most important to the Arab leaders to see in a peace plan?
KUSHNER: They conveyed they want to see a Palestinian State

Bad – This sentences comes right up front. So Kushner is under heavy pressure from clever, focussed Arab leaders to do the very thing that is most dangerous for Israel – establish a new terrorist state just a bike-ride away from Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Ben-Gurion airport. No statement from Kushner that this is not going to happen. Reminder: Under international law, a “state” is a permanent all-powerful entity that, unlike a failed marriage (and unlike the Palestinian Authority) cannot be disbanded if it doesn’t work out. Absolutely unacceptable to Israel as Israeli ministers have repeated over and over.

Neutral –
KUSHNER: I believe that Palestinian people are less invested in the politicians’ talking points than they are in… more and better paying jobs .

Neutral – this is true, but where is the clear statement that therefore, what needs to happen is this: Palestinian Arabs get a life, Israel gets Judea-Samaria because Israel needs that territory.

Bad —
(T )here are people on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides who will object to any compromise.

Bad –dangerous, fake moral equivalence. Israelis object to territorial compromises because they want to make sure their kids will still be breathing tomorrow morning.

Bad —
We think that the deal should be looked at by both sides as a package….

Bad – hints at a willingness to push Israel around (maybe to push the Palestinians around too, but that’s no consolation – Israel cannot afford, at any price, to be pushed into territorial concessions of any size).

Bad –
(R )eaching for peace takes courage and the need to take the right calculated risks.

Disastrous for Israel – if it’s risky, it’s not peace!

Good –
REPORTER: What do you make of the recent statements … that your trip is a “waste of time and is bound to fail”?

KUSHNER: Palestinian leadership is saying those things because they are scared we will release our peace plan and the Palestinian people will actually like it….
Good – realistic

Good –
REPORTER: Have you reached out to President Abbas to see if he would meet you on this trip?
KUSHNER: Not directly. President Abbas knows …that we are open to meeting him….. He has said publicly he will not meet us and we have opted not to chase him.

Good – new way of looking at things, no more begging

Bad —
KUSHNER: President Abbas says that he is committed to peace and I have no reason not to believe him….

I greatly respect that there are many things President Abbas has done well for establishing the foundations of peace.
Bad – 200% naïve. The Palestinian Authority is committed to peace??

Bad —
(B )oth sides will have to take a leap and meet somewhere between their stated positions.

Bad –fake, impractical moral equivalence between Israeli and Arab positions. Refusal to understand that Israel cannot make any territorial concessions of any size.

Bad —
KUSHNER: Think about the prospects for the Palestinian people over a 5-20 year horizon if they get massive investments in modern infrastructure, job training and economic stimulus. The world is going through a technological industrial revolution and the Palestinian people can be beneficiaries by leapfrogging to be leaders in the next industrial age. The Palestinian people are industrious, well educated and adjacent to the Silicon Valley of the Middle East — Israel. Israel’s prosperity would spill over very quickly to the Palestinians if there is peace.

Bad – Palestinian Arabs MUST be told that they must from now on, just as the Jews have always done, take care of themselves and stop lining up for handouts. People who don’t work for a living have too much well-funded spare time to spend on Jew-bashing and Israel-bashing.

Bad —
I feel strongly that while in order to make a peace deal you need to define and have secure borders, economically you want to eliminate boundaries.

Bad – unrealistic business-man’s naivete – extremely dangerous for Israel militarily.

Bad —
KUSHNER: The actual deal points are between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but the economic plan we are working on can show what comes as part of a deal when it is achieved with some massive investments . We believe we can attract very significant investments in infrastructure from the public and private sectors to make the whole region more connected.

Bad – unrealistic business-man talk – economic plans are easy, but what about the “deal points” which are what the whole controversy is about??
There has to be a clear statement – Palestinians get a life, Israel gets Judea-Samaria because they need it.

Good –
KUSHNER: Well, what’s happening in Gaza is very sad. The humanitarian situation started long before President Trump came into office… As long as there are rockets being fired and tunnels being dug, there will be a chokehold on resources allowed to enter. The narrative of victimhood may feel good for the moment and help you grab headlines but it doesn’t do anything to improve lives.

Good – realistic.

Bad —
I am an optimist and I have met so many people and also have seen so many examples of Israelis and Palestinians reaching out to each other and trying to forge bonds to try and circumvent a failed political process….

Bad –fake, impractical moral equivalence between Israeli and Arab positions. Refusal to stick up for the responsible, sophisticated, well-intentioned folks on the Israeli right who are striving to keep their country safe by ensuring Israel does not make any territorial concessions of any size. Concessions do not equal success and refusal to make dangerous concessions is not the same as failure.

Bad —
I do not underestimate humankind’s ability to love.

Bad – completely unrealistic hence extremely dangerous. Even the New York stock exchange does not work on this basis – let alone the Middle East.

Bad —
REPORTER: You clearly are very focused on improving the economic circumstances of the Palestinian people — what about the traditional core issues?
KUSHNER: We are committed to finding a package of solutions that both sides can live with (but) (s )imply resolving core issues without creating a pathway to a better life will not lead to a durable solution.

Bad – vague. How are you going to “simply resolve the core issues”, each of which is critical to the only Jewish state in the world with no wiggle-room? There has to be a clear statement – Palestinians get a life, Israel gets Judea-Samaria because they need it.

Bad –
(B )oth the Israelis and Palestinians must bolster and refocus their leadership, to encourage them to … not be afraid of trying.

Bad – false moral equivalence, extremely dangerous for Israel.

Bad –
There have been countless mistakes and missed opportunities over the years, and you, the Palestinian people, have paid the price.

Bad – no recognition of the suffering of the Israeli people which, unlike the Palestinian-Arab suffering, is through no fault of their own. Too much repetition of the phrase “the Palestinian people”, no awareness of the fact that all Palestinians are Arabs — in origin, language, religion, dress and customs – and the ancient Arab nation is the most territorially well endowed nation in the world. Without gaining this awareness it will be impossible for Kushner to arrive at a feasible solution.

Bad —
My dream is for the Israeli and Palestinian people to be the closest of allies in combating terror.

Bad – out of touch with reality. Terrorism did not drop out of the sky; it is a Palestinian-Arab invention.

Susie Dym is an Israeli patent attorney with 25 years of expertise on Arab-Israel public affairs

For transcript of the interview, see: nytimes.com/2018/06/24/world/middleeast/jared-kushner-interview-transcript

About the Author
Susie Dym is a London-born, English-speaking Israeli. By profession, she's a patent attorney in Israel’s private and defense industries. She also has over 20 years of experience in public affairs including introducing the Israeli parliament to the novel concept of achievement orientation by masterminding the Mattot Arim reports. She still serves as spokesperson for Mattot Arim, an Israeli NGO working toward peace-for-peace since 1992, and is well connected to Israeli public figures in government and media.
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