US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman sits next to White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner as he speaks during the dedication ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s Middle East peace plan at one point included Jordan giving land to the Palestinian territories and in return getting land from Saudi Arabia, according to a new book on the Kushner family.
The book, Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, was written by Vicky Ward and released by St. Martin’s Press on Tuesday. The book’s 300 pages detail Jared and Ivanka’s path to involvement in every aspect of White House affairs and their alleged designs to use their influence for personal gain.
Ward cites “multiple people who saw drafts of the plan” created by Kushner that would involve not just Israel and the Palestinians but also Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
“What Kushner wanted... was for the Saudis and Emiratis to provide economic assistance to the Palestinians,” Ward wrote. “There were plans for an oil pipeline from Saudi Arabia to Gaza, where refineries and a shipping terminal could be built. The profits would create desalination plants, where Palestinians could find work, addressing the high unemployment rate.”
Ward said that the plan also included land swaps, where Jordan would give land to the Palestinian territories, and “in return, Jordan would get land from Saudi Arabia, and that country would get back two Red Sea islands it gave Egypt to administer in 1950.”
Jason Greenblatt, the White House's Middle East envoy, tweeted late Wednesday that the book's claims about Kushner's peace plan are false.
"No one who has seen the plan would spread misinformation like that," he tweeted. "Whoever made these claims has bad info."
Speaking to Sky News Arabia while in Warsaw last month, Kushner said the White House plan – expected to be presented sometime after the April 9 election in Israel – would focus on border issues.
Kushner said the plan was both political and economic, and is “really about establishing borders and resolving final-status issues... The plan will have a broad economic impact, not only on Israel and the Palestinians, but on the entire region as well.” The senior adviser to the president, who is also his son-in-law, added that the plan will have a large impact on the entire region, including Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.
In November 2018, Mike Evans – a Christian Evangelical Zionist and founder of the Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem – wrote an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post
touting a plan to create a Saudi and European-funded desalination plant to provide clean water to Gaza.
“Over the past 30 days, I have presented a new plan to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Trump administration officials and European Union leaders, all of whom have received it with great enthusiasm,” Evans wrote last year. “The plan is based around a simple idea: Establish an Israeli desalination plant, built on Israeli land, funded by Saudi Arabia, the Europeans and others, that provides clean water to Gaza.”
Evans said he hoped “the administration would not make this a part of the peace plan,” and said the plant should be on Israeli or Egyptian land. “When I presented the project to the crown prince, I told him that Jared Kushner was studying it,” Evans wrote in November. “He said if Kushner was interested he should contact him.”
The Ward book, published by St. Martin’s Press, emphasizes multiple times that Israel was one of the only issues on the Trump campaign trail that deeply interested Kushner.
In September 2016, Netanyahu met with then-candidate Trump, Steve Bannon and Kushner in Trump Tower on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“In that conversation,” Ward wrote, “Trump let Kushner jump in, because US-Israel relations was the one political issue anyone in the campaign ever saw Kushner get worked up about. ‘On the Israel stuff, Jared at least comes across like he knows what he’s talking about,’ said someone who was at the meeting.”
Ward also claimed that a source in J Street said there was a rumor Kushner had sought to delay the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until he could begin negotiating his peace deal.
The book also details Kushner’s clashes with then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson over Israel and negotiations with the Palestinians.
“Kushner took the Middle East from Tillerson’s portfolio,” Ward wrote. “‘I want Israel,’ is how he put it, according to a former Tillerson aide... Tillerson, a former Boy Scout, tried to work with Kushner because he thought it was the right thing to do.”
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