Palestinians were disappointed after a "tense" meeting with Jared Kushner, and Trump may abandon peace process: Report

"They sounded like Netanyahu's advisers and not like fair arbiters"

Published June 25, 2017 5:03PM (EDT)

Jared Kushner (AP/Evan Vucci)
Jared Kushner (AP/Evan Vucci)

Following a "tense" meeting between President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Trump will receive a report about the peace negotiations and decide whether to continue them.

The meeting was reported by the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat on Saturday by an adviser to Abbas who attended the meeting, and a translation of the account by The Jerusalem Post indicated Trump "is to determine the future of reigniting Mideast peace efforts in the near future, including the possibility of withdrawing completely from the process." A senior Trump administration official told the Post that the report was "nonsense."

Abbas had been furious with Kushner and Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt for taking Israel's side after Kushner told him Israel had demanded an "immediate halt of payments to terrorists and their families," according to the Post. The Trump administration was also "equally upset" because Abbas would not condemn a stabbing attack last week just outside Jerusalem's Old City that resulted in the killing of an Israeli police officer. Abbas also refused to meet with the controversial U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

Kushner "will submit his report to the president and, after it is submitted, Trump will decide if there's a chance for negotiations or it might be preferable to pull out of peace efforts," an adviser to Abbas who attended the meeting said, according to the Post.

The Palestinians were also disappointed that Kushner would not voice a clear stance about Israeli settlements in the West Bank. "They sounded like Netanyahu's advisers and not like fair arbiters," a senior Palestinian official told Haaretz.

After Trump's meeting with Abbas in early May, the president said there was a "very good chance" that the two sides had struck a peace deal. "It's something that, I think, is, frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years," he added.

Trump has also said previously if Kushner "can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can."


By Charlie May

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