Kushner: US to approve annexation if Palestinians don't negotiate
“Nobody can say we didn’t give the Palestinians a chance to go back to the table. If they want to talk, we are ready."
By AARON REICH
Despite a refusal by the Palestinians to be involved in any negotiations and a lack of government in Israel, US President Donald Trump's administration will push forward with the "Deal of the Century" peace plan, including giving White House approval to Israeli annexation, senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner told US senators in a closed-room meeting last Wednesday, Channel 13's diplomatic correspondent reported through Axios.The news comes just following Israel's third election within a year, which has seen the country still divided as no clear winner has emerged from the political deadlock.Despite this, it seems the Trump administration feels both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief political rival, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, will both support the annexation.Though US and Israeli officials met in Jerusalem two weeks ago to discuss which areas of the West Bank over which the Trump administration is ready to recognize the application of Israeli sovereignty, Kushner has stated that the overall demarcation process will take months.In the meantime, he urged the Palestinians to start negotiating, saying that they could improve their position through negotiations, but they only have themselves to blame if it goes ahead without their approval, the Axios report stated.The Palestinians have stated their refusal to accept the Trump administration's peace plan well before the plan was even unveiled, and since then have refused to budge on the issue.In addition, the Palestinian Authority has been cracking down on any perceived efforts of "normalization" of ties with Israel in the months since the plan was unveiled.AdvertisementAccording to Kushner, who presented the senators with the same presentation used at a UN Security Council meeting in February, the situation has become increasingly worsened due to two specific factors: Increasing expansion efforts by Israel in the West Bank, and the increasing dependence of Palestinian leaders on foreign aid.According to a senior White House official, “Kushner’s message was that every time negotiations failed, the Palestinians got more money and Israel was able to keep expanding the settlements, but the peace process became a false notion and didn’t solve anything. Both parties' leaderships just kept getting what they want without improving the lives of the people."Kushner cited the support of many Arab states, as well as the EU's lack of opposition to the plan, as reasons why it could still go forward.“Nobody can say we didn’t give the Palestinians a chance to go back to the table," a White House official told Channel 13. "If they want to talk we are ready. We think we can make it better for them, but if not the world is going to move on without them. We are not going to do things in the same stupid manner it was done before. We are going to keep moving forward."The Trump peace plan, entitled "Road to Prosperity," was first unveiled by Trump and Netanyahu in January 2020. Under the deal, the Trump administration will recognize the annexation of and application of Israeli sovereignty over 30% of the West Bank.