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In leaked audio, Jared Kushner calls Israeli measures at Al-Aqsa 'reasonable'

Aug. 3, 2017 9:13 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 5, 2017 4:52 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Senior advisor to United States President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, expressed his doubts on whether a peace deal could be achieved between Israel and Palestine under American auspices, and called recent Israeli measures at the Al-Aqsa compound, which sparked massive protests across the occupied Palestinian territory, “reasonable.”

In a leaked conversation with US Congressional aides on Monday, Kushner, a former real-estate developer and Trump’s son-in-law, Kushner said “there may be no solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that “we’re going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future."

Kushner used the events that transpired over the past two weeks at the Al-Aqsa compound and the Israeli embassy in Jordan -- which overall saw the deaths of 10 Palestinians, five Israelis, and two Jordanians -- as an example of how the Trump administration worked with all sides “to solve the situation.”

Following a deadly shooting attack on July 14, Israeli authorities shut down the Al-Aqsa compound, the third holiest site in Islam, for almost three days only to reopen it after having installed increased security measures including metal detectors, turnstiles, and security cameras.

The measures sparked widespread protests in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as Palestinians said the Israeli move was the latest example of Israeli authorities using Israeli-Palestinian violence as a means of furthering control over important sites in the occupied Palestinian territory and normalizing repressive measures against Palestinians.

In the leaked conversation with congressional interns, Kushner called Israel’s decision to install the metal detectors “reasonable,” and blamed Palestinians for “incitement.”

In regards to a fatal incident at the Israeli embassy in Jordan, in which an Israeli embassy guard shot and killed two Jordanian civilians, Kushner contradicted the Jordanian government’s official account of the event as a work dispute, saying that “an Israeli security diplomat in Jordan was attacked by two Jordanian men, and in self-defense he killed the attackers.”

Israeli news website Haaretz pointed out that during the conversation, Kushner only mentioned the five Israeli deaths -- the two police officers who were killed in the shooting attack at Al-Aqsa, and three Israeli settlers who were killed in a stabbing attack in the Halamish settlement -- and no Palestinian deaths.

Haaretz highlighted that “Kushner's leaked lecture probably won't help” in regards to recent accusations from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat that the US government was expressing biased towards Israel over the past weeks events.

Trump has repeatedly said peace between Israelis and Palestinians was something he could achieve as president. “I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump said in April. "There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians -- none whatsoever.”

While Trump has maintained on many occasions that, under his auspices, the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be solved, his administration has painted a rather unclear picture regarding Trump’s plans in the region, while a number of high-profile US officials, including Kushner, are known to be staunch supporters of Israel.
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