US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner has said that Palestinians are welcome to suggest changes to borders in the proposed peace plan. However, the existing Israeli settlements are not going anywhere, he added.
“What the Palestinian leadership should do is they should engage [with Trump’s peace plan]. If there are things they want to change, if they don’t like where we drew the lines, [they should] come and tell us where they want to draw the lines,” Kushner told Egyptian journalist Amr Adib in an interview on the El-Hekaya news show on Saturday.
He stressed that Palestinians should accept the proposed plan as groundwork for further talks if they want to be “realistic.”
At the same time, Kushner – one of the chief architects of Trump’s peace plan and the president’s son-in-law – reiterated that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal under international law and were called by the UN Security Council “a major obstacle” to lasting peace, will remain in place.
One of the objectives of the plan is to “give Israel the land that they’re never going to leave anyway,” Kushner said.
Unveiled earlier this week, the roadmap calls for the creation of an independent Palestinian state with its capital set in the outskirts of East Jerusalem, currently controlled by Israel. However, it offers only a four-year freeze on new Israeli settlements in the West Bank, while the existing ones remain intact. The plan also rules out the return of all Palestinian refugees, which is one of the key demands of the Palestinian officials. The plan was predictably endorsed by Israel and rejected by the Palestinian Authority (PA), as well as the Arab League, whose member states view the roadmap as heavily skewed in favor of Tel Aviv. Shortly after the plan was rolled out, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would annex the Jordan Valley along with the settlements in the West Bank. The PA, in turn, has officially severed all ties with Israel and the US.