Warsaw, Poland: President Donald Trump’s senior Middle East adviser, son-in-law Jared Kushner, said Thursday that the Trump administration would unveil its much-awaited Mideast “Deal of the Century” after Israeli elections on April 9.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Kushner briefed participants at a security conference in Poland about the anticipated plan but would not go into details for fear of it leaking.
Netanyahu told reporters that he looked forward to “seeing the plan once it is presented.”
Netanyahu said he heard nothing new from Kushner besides a reference to a 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative, which offered full Arab recognition of Israel in return for a withdrawal from territories it captured in the 1967 war.
Netanyahu said Kushner said the plan may have made sense at the time but was no longer relevant.
“It is not appropriate for today. The reality has changed,” Netanyahu said.
He wouldn’t comment on any concessions Israel would have to make under any US-backed proposal.
A diplomat who watched Kushner’s presentation quoted him as saying that Trump had given him the Israeli-Palestinian “file” to give the long-elusive goal of a peace agreement “a shot.”
Despite the long odds, he said he believed “privately, people are much more flexible” than their public positions, the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity according to protocol.
The Palestinians have pre-emptively rejected the plan, accusing the Trump White House of being unfairly biased in favour of Israel.
The apparent rejection of the Saudi peace plan is likely to deepen their belief that the plan will fall far short of their longstanding goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
“There will be no peace and stability in the Middle East without a peaceful solution that leads to a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as a capital,” said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Palestinians skipped Thursday’s conference and asked Arab countries to boycott or downgrade their representation.
Some 60 countries took part in the gathering, including five Arab foreign ministers that made a rare public appearance alongside Netanyahu.
Kushner has been working on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan for close to two years but has yet to release any details, and the release of his plan has been repeatedly delayed.