Jared Kushner says administration does not support annexing settlements before Israel’s elections in March


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jared Kushner, an architect of the Trump administration’s peace plan, said the administration would not support the immediate annexing of West Bank settlements and suggested the actual implementation of the plan begin after Israeli elections in March.

Kushner, in an interview on Thursday with GZERO Media, a website that reports on global affairs, said the administration has agreed to form a technical team with Israeli representatives to study the map and define its parameters.

“The Jordan Valley can mean a lot of different things,” the White House adviser said. “What we have now is almost like called more of a term sheet, and then we have to work over a couple months to turn that into a document that we can both feel good about.”

Kushner, President Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, added, “… We’ll start working on the technical stuff now, but I think we’d need an Israeli government in place in order to move forward. But we’ll see what happens.”

Kushner’s comments come after the announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel will look to immediately “apply its laws” to existing settlements and the Jordan Valley. The Israeli Cabinet is expected to discuss and possibly vote on the issue as early as Tuesday.

In an op-ed posted on the CNN website, Kushner called this a “pivotal moment.”

“We can choose to work together now to build on this unprecedented opportunity or return to the same old talking points and positions that lead us to where we are today,” he said. “Palestinians may have issues with aspects of this plan. But to address them, they should identify the areas they would like to improve and agree to negotiate with Israel. Failure to do so would be to miss an opportunity which may never come again.”

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