Kushner: “There may be no solution”.

WIRED

ON MONDAY, WHITE House senior adviser Jared Kushner spoke to a group of congressional interns as part of an ongoing, off-the-record summer lecture series. During the question-and-answer portion of the event, Kushner may have inadvertently offered some insight into the negotiating tactics he is using in the Middle East.

WIRED has obtained a recording of Kushner’s talk, which lasted for just under an hour in total.

The speech—which was peppered with self-deprecating jokes, as reported by Foreign Policy—offered a rare insight into the man President Trump has tasked with criminal justice reform, managing the opioid crisis, updating the government’s technological systems, and creating peace in the Middle East, among other tasks. It’s the latter, though, that’s both the most deeply personal for Kushner (a staunch supporter of Israel) and that prompted him to embark on his longest, most rambling answer during yesterday’s question-and-answer session.

While the recording doesn’t catch the entirety of the question, it appears to have centered on how Kushner plans to negotiate peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as why he believes he’ll be successful where every other administration has failed. He doesn’t directly answer either question, but he does reveal that, in his extensive research, he’s learned that “not a whole lot has been accomplished over the last 40 or 50 years.” He also notes that he’s spoken to “a lot of people,” which has taught him that “this is a very emotionally charged situation.”

Later in the clip, Kushner expresses frustration at others’ attempts to teach him about the delicate situation he’s been inserted into, saying, “Everyone finds an issue, that ‘You have to understand what they did then’ and ‘You have to understand that they did this.’ But how does that help us get peace? Let’s not focus on that. We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books. Let’s focus on, How do you come up with a conclusion to the situation?” He then goes on to lament the press’s treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a family friend who he’s known since childhood.

Kushner’s dismissal of the nuances of the conflict has already been an issue. Last month, when Kushner met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Palestinian official told Haaretz that Kushner “sounded like Netanyahu’s advisers and not like fair arbiters” and that they were “greatly disappointed” after the meeting. Abbas himself was “reportedly furious.”

Finally, Kushner closed with the following statement of reassurance: “So, what do we offer that’s unique? I don’t know … I’m sure everyone that’s tried this has been unique in some ways, but again we’re trying to follow very logically. We’re thinking about what the right end state is, and we’re trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there’s a solution. And there may be no solution, but it’s one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on. So we’re going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future.”

You can read and listen to Kushner’s answer in its entirety below. WIRED has reached out to the White House for comment and will update if and when we receive a response.


So first of all, this is one of the ones I was asked to take on, and I did with this something that I do with every problem set you get. Which is you try to study the historical context to understand how something got to where it is, who was successful, and who wasn’t successful. And you try to [unintelligible] is research it and look at the conventional sources but also try to get some unconventional sources as well. And what I’ve determined from looking at it is that not a whole lot has been accomplished over the last 40 or 50 years we’ve been doing this.

And the other thing about it I’d say is that the variables haven’t been changed much, so at some point it’s just one of those things where you kind of have to just pick and choose where you draw conclusion. But that was the other observation I had.

The third one is that I have tried to look at why people haven’t been successful in the negotiations, so I looked and studied all the different negotiations. I spoke to a lot of people who have have been part of them, and I think the reason why is that this is a very emotionally charged situation. Look at what happened this past 10 days—a lot of seemingly logical measures taken on the different [unintelligible] part somehow became a little bit incendiary. But we were able to calm it down by having a lot of really great dialog between Jordan and the Palestinian authority and the Israelis.

I’d say what makes me hopeful about it is the fact that (a) we’ve had two achievements so far that I think are actually quite noteworthy, which I’ll talk about in a second. The reason why we haven’t been able to do that is the trust that we have with all sides. So if you’ve noticed about this conflict, and [unintelligible] nothing’s leaked out. So nothing has leaked out which I think gives the parties more trust, and more ability to really express and share their viewpoints. And ultimately, if you do a deal that when somebody had to compromise somewhere—all right so there’s a stated set of positions on one side. There’s a stated set of positions on the other side. And there’s a lot of viewpoints all around that people have, which may or may not be conducive to a solution. So I think you need to be able to probe people in private for them to have the confidence that it’s not going to be used against them, and that it’s not going to leak out in the press, which would be very, very hurtful. That’s been a big advantage, which has allowed us to really have a lot of very interesting conversations.

So the two successes that we’ve had so far is—I don’t know if you’re familiar with the deal we’ve had on the water with the Jordanians and the Israelis and the Palestinians—so I was saying that they’ve talked about in concept for a lot of years where [unintelligible] and we were able to figure out how we were going to negotiate a solution which simply [unintelligible] talking for a very, very long time. But again, that happened just because we’re talking to all sides. We don’t let them get caught in the past.

You know everyone finds an issue, that “You have to understand what they did then” and “You have to understand that they did this.” But how does that help us get peace? Let’s not focus on that. We don’t want a history lesson. We’ve read enough books. Let’s focus on, How do you come up with a conclusion to the situation. That was one thing that we achieved, which we were quite happy about—which is, you know, small thing, but it’s actually a pretty big thing over there. But something that we thought was a pretty big step.

The other thing was working through, in this past week, it really showed us how quickly things can ignite in our history, and you have some people who don’t want to see and achieve an outcome of peace. And other people sometimes thrive in the chaos, and they thrive [unintelligible] and that’s not new to politics and its not new to that conflict. It’s just the way it is, and you always have people on all sides [unintelligible].

And again, all these people make arguments about why they feel the way they do. So as tensions were really mounting, I don’t know if everyone is familiar, but there were two people—two Israeli guards killed at the Temple Mount (and that’s the first time in many, many, many years that that happened, so Israelis [unintelligible] putting up metal detectors on the Temple Mount, which is not an irrational thing to do. You know when you have—police officers were just killed, and weapons that were used to [unintelligible] the weapons to check them—so then what happens is they start inciting it.

They say look, you know, this is a change to the status quo. The Temple Mount is a [unintelligible] occupation of Israel, and Israel was saying we don’t want anything to do with that, we just want to make sure people are safe. And that really incited a lot of tension in the streets.

So we’re going to work with them [unintelligible] to take down the metal detectors there, and then I think one of the Palestinians’ religious leaders was saying, “If you go through the metal detectors, then your prayers don’t count.” And that is not a very helpful thing to have said. And then there was a lot of rage. And there was an Israeli family that three people killed in their home, which was absolutely terrible. You know, so, “I’m going to do this to free the Temple Mount.” So ultimately we were able to work with them, and we were able to get the Israelis to take down to the different forms of surveillance that the Jordanians were OK with, and we talked with the Palestinians the whole time to try to get their viewpoint on it.

And then ultimately they said, “OK, we took down the metal detectors but there’s still a bridge up somewhere.” And they said, “OK, we’ll take that down, too.” And so Bibi was getting beaten up by the press in Israel, because that was very politically unpopular for him to do. At the same time we got a situation in Jordan where an Israeli security diplomat in Jordan was attacked by two Jordanian men, and in self-defense he killed the attackers. So then it worked out where the Jordanians got the Israelis to accept their people from the embassy back to Israel.

[Unintelligible]

My point is that these things are very, very combustible and very, very delicate in terms of how you can do, but I think the fact that all these conversations were all done in quiet and nothing leaked out [unintelligible]. But I think we were able to keep things quiet. But I mean, any day something could happen.

So, what do we offer that’s unique? I don’t know … I’m sure everyone that’s tried this has been unique in some ways, but again we’re trying to follow very logically. We’re thinking about what the right end state is, and we’re trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there’s a solution. And there may be no solution, but it’s one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on. So we’re going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future.

August 2, 2017 | 13 Comments » | 849 views

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13 Comments / 13 Comments

  1. “There may be no solution” is, in itself, not merely a verbal moment of truth by a significant American player in the the foreign affairs of the United States. But above and beyond that, it could well represent the first step in the evolution of American understanding that no permanent peace in the Middle East is possible, and especially so in the posture toward the Jewish state on the part of the Islamic civilization in general and the Arab part of that civilization in particular.

    Israel, in fact as well as theory, has no permanent and viable option but to extend her national borders, expand her Jewish population through doubling every 30-49 years or so, and permit nobody but members of the Jewish nation to take part in choosing the elected governments of the Jewish state.

    None of this has anything to do with democracy. But democracy in itself has no real place in the life of the Middle Eastern civilizations, including Israel.

    Arnold Harris, Outspeaker

  2. mr k. there is a solution its been around, about since 1922 95 years ago. in modern wording its under the heading u n charter article 80. only change is the status of JERUSALEM as the u n failed to act in a proper and correct manor 1948 – 1967 therefor has lost any right to have any say on ISRAELS capital than recognize it as is..

  3. Solutions are not easy and will not be quick. They certainly depend on Israeli action to get rid of terrorists and their supporters.

    They certainly do not involve trading land for a piece of paper and retreating from land to give the terrorists more land to operate from.

  4. Government bureaucrats always think they’re smarter than everybody else — including their preceeding, government bureaucrats.

    But even if this guy would tell dad that the situation is unsolvable (which he won’t), in a few years or less some other conceited, government bureaucrat will come along who has his own ideas about the ME situation.

    And things will be back to normal.

  5. A lot of stating the obvious. And a lot of verbiage which covered up really nothing, becuse the facts are staring everyone in the face. The is NO political solution.

    I was disappointed in this interview. It showed that Kushner gave undeserved credit and plaudits to Jordan, which was at very least, considerably if ot totally, responsible for the mess up in the first place. He let them off very lightly with positive praise….like a 5-6 year old kid that you shmear with :”what a wonderful boy he is”, who’s been giving trouble who agrees to stop his tantrum.

    And then the “mis-statement of the year.

    “Jordan got the Israelis to accept their people back to Israel”….

    Now what the hell does THAT mean. Have we been giving this guy too much credit and praise in advance of expected achievements with will never eventuate?? Is his talent totally in Real Estate and not International Relations.

    The interview lasted just under an hour and the pertinent points lasted about 90 seconds, and don’t ask me what they were because i didn’t see them at all.. Perhaps the most intelligible part of the whole enterprise was the couple of “unintelligible” interludes where the real “pearls pf price” were uttered.

    I am not optimistic.

  6. There is a political solution. Just as warfare is the extended arm of politics, a solution you fight for will get you there. Ask the Palestinians. They seem to be willing to actually physically fight for what they want, although most of their motivation is based on incitement and hype. Israel has to fight to survive and has been doing so for the past 100 years or so, so that’s not even news any more. So climb down from the “there is no political solution” tree and be ready to fight for what you believe in. If you think all land west of the Jordan should be Arab-rein, that is a political target. Go for it! Fight for it and it will be yours! If you think a TSS is a better solution, fight for that and be ready to live with the results, which won’t be much different than what we see today. The Arabs will not give up on their demands until they fight and lose. The Jews will not give up on their desire to live a good life until they fight for it.

  7. @ dreuveni:

    I\ts not just a question of the Arabs’ not giving up unitl “they fight and lose”.They’ve fought and lost a dozen times already and are even more brainwashed to slaughter all Jews than before. They have to be irrevocable crushed in military manner. First, as I have suggested about 10 times over the previous 20 years, we need to eliminate Gaza. This can successfully and permanently done by giving good waning, then starting an artillery barrage, a creeping barrage, slowly going from North to South, until everything is flattened, and utterly destroyed beyond repair or reuse, This will include the tunnels which will either fall in or be filled with rubble.

    And it will give good time for the population to go out through the Sinai exit, where they should be in the first place. And let the bleeding hearts and Arab States, rally round and fix them up. Not that much should be expected from the Arabs who have been notably miserly with their “brethern”, but the EU, U.K &ct; and the rest of the bean heads who hate Jews, will come to the rescue, depriving their own people to waste the money on positively undeserving Arab thieves and terrorists.

    At the forefront will be the Supreme Political and everyday -but dangerous-simpleton, Justin Trudeau who loves both dictatorial and ruthless China, as well as his Arab brothers and sisters, although how he can tell which is which, is a mystery only he knows,–although being an idiot, he may not know. Not that it matters since the Canadians are so supine,and surfeited with undeserved goodies that Political Correctness has gone out of fashion…not that it has disappeared, it has just become the norm, so that if a Canadian is about to enter a door 20 feet ahead of you, he politely waits and allows you in first. If you are a woman and he a man, he’ll rub his nose along the ground as well in abject support.

    If YOU deliberately knock into him, HE’LL apologise profusely. Enough I’m getting sick already……I have to live here.

  8. “Fiat Lux”!
    As long as the whole West remains anti-Semitic, Jews/IL will continue to be target Nb ONE!

  9. Kushner makes more sense, than anyone else I’ve heard who has tried to deal with this situation. He speaks about things AS THEY ARE, such as the recent attacks; and the fact that there may not be a solution. I have not seen any other “problem solver” get this far, without falling into “nicey” talk, lies, and false hope.

    By the way, I have suspected that Kushner is the antichrist, ever since I found out he had bought 666 Fifth Avenue as his flagship property. This does not alter my opinion: I believe he is dealing wisely and reasonably, and also that he may be the antichrist.

    Meanwhile, I would keep my eye on Turkey’s Erdogan, who seems to be a more immediate threat.

  10. If he really said it, Kushner is correct in saying “there may be no solution,” except that I would put it more strongly, “There is no solution,” if by solution we mean a diplomatic one. Unilateral Israeli action will also not lead to a solution. Israel must wait the Arabs out, while defending themselves both militarily and in the “court of public opinion.” At some point, either the Arabs will lose interest in fighting Israel, or their culture will finally become more secular and humanistic, or if not the Western powers will finally have no choice, in order to protect themselves from jihadist terrorism, to crush the Arabs, Iranians, etc. by military force. If Israel can hold on until one or the other of these things happen, there will be peace. But it might not happen for another hundred years.

  11. @ ArnoldHarris:
    Hear, hear! But it does actually confirm to an older definition of democracy.

    “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.”

    Did slaves, women, or the foreign-born have the vote in Rome or Greece?

    Did women, slaves, or American Indians have the vote for most of the 19th century? Did Blacks in the American South have the vote for most of the 20th century?

    We were we any less a democracy for it? Are the majority of Israelis not Jews? And as that majority extended to annexed areas, wouldn’t it be then still rule by majority? Democracy does not necessarily preclude putting the “natives” under military colonial rule until they go away. The way the Muslims did to us, and before that the Byzantine Christians who were the Christianized Romans. It took about 400 years for Christians to become a majority. Then it took about 400 years for Muslims to become a majority. As Orwell pointed out, Democracy is one of those meaningless words that everyone claims despite irreconcilably different definitions.

    Anybody remember the GDR? That’s The German Democratic Republic or East Germany.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_history_of_Palestine_(region)

  12. @ adamdalgliesh:
    I believe that’s Netanyahu’s strategy but Europe is on the edge of being conquered from within by the Muslims and after 1400 years of zero change in Muslim thinking, I think it’s optimistic to think that another century will make any difference. Islam is expansionist like Soviet Communism. And they advance when we retreat and retreat when we advance, history shows.

  13. “Law to prevent High Court cancelling laws to committee”
    “The Knesset Legislative Committee will discuss a proposal to prevent the Supreme Court from intervening regarding Knesset legislation.

    Tamuz 12, 5777 , 06/07/17

    The proposal is being initiated by MK Moti Yogev(Jewish Home) together with the Derech Chaim movement. 16 MKs have expressed their support for the law.

    The law states that it is not within the authority of the court to cancel laws. In the absence of a constitution legislation is in the hands of the Knesset as the representative of the public and the court’s job is to explain the law and to implement the law in concrete cases which may arise.””
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/392089

    humor

    Prova d’orchestra [Federico Fellini] 7/7 “The Orchestra Rehearsal”
    @2:04 minutes

    https://youtu.be/85DwyqwqACo

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchestra_Rehearsal

    Behold, the elephant in the room.

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