Manama, Bahrain – It’s easy to criticize, and much harder to say what you agree with, and then specify it, President Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner told his critics on Wednesday after the Peace to Prosperity workshop in Manama, writes Jerusalem Post.
“It’s easy to criticize, but it will not help the Palestinians, and it will not help the region,” Kushner said. “we have tried to do something in the attempt to solve the difficult task. And we have presented 140 pages with the details of the plan.”
Kushner said that in politics, it is not popular to present details because details promote criticism: “We are actually seeking constructive feedback so that we can adjust the plan and move forward.”
Kushner said the administration did not want to “punish” the Palestinian leadership for boycotting the conference.
“It is not about punishing the Palestinians in one way or another. We are trying to help the Palestinians,” he said.
He added that much of the criticism has come from those who have been involved for a very long time and they “can easily get annoyed” when things do not go the way they want.
“Past attempts at solution have not worked and we must continue to do so in a way that provides a logical framework,” he added. The Palestinians, he said, “do not have a good history when it comes to implementing an agreement.”
Kushner said the conference had been planned specifically for the finance ministers – the finance ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar attended – rather than the foreign ministers because the “traditional political profiles” are “stuck” in the issue and they let not to be able to move on.
He said that those who drew up the administration’s financial plan “do not know what is in the political plan”, which will be drawn up on a date yet to be determined.
“We will get to the political level when we are ready to get to the political level,” he said.
The last meeting of the conference included the Ministers of Finance of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
United Arab Emirates Secretary of State for Finance Obaid al-Tayer cautiously scolded the Palestinian Authority for not attending the conference.
“We must give the Palestinians prosperity and they must strive for a better future,” he said. “If it is the initiative presented that is being discussed, we should give it a try.”
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa also said in an interview with Channel 13 that the Palestinians made a mistake by not attending the conference.
“It’s always a mistake to lose an opportunity to achieve peace,” he said. “Yes, it has nothing to do with the [political] peace plan that the United States wants to present. But it was an opportunity and we wanted to see them here, but they chose not to come.”
Asked what his message was to the Israeli public, Khalifa said: “Yes, you have peace with Egypt and Jordan, and a kind of understanding with the Palestinians. But that is not the limit of where you belong. Israel is a country in the Middle East. It is part of the heritage of this region. The Jewish people have a place among us. Therefore, communication must be a prerequisite for resolving the whole conflict. We must talk together. “
In an interview with KAN News, Khalifa said: “This is an opportunity not to be missed.” He compared the possibility to the Camp David agreement, which brought peace between Egypt and Israel, which he said was a “game-changer”.
“I think if we take this issue [the conference] seriously, it could be a very important game-changer,” he said.
One Palestinian businessman speaking at the conference, Ashraf Jabari of Hebron, said the Palestinian leadership did not boycott the conference – it had not been invited. “It’s a business conference,” he said
Jabari was one of about 12 Palestinian businessmen who had defied pressure from the Palestinian leadership and attended the conference.
Asked by Kushner during a meeting on Wednesday what he would do if he were the leader of the Palestinian leadership, he said he had learned two things about politics from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair: think creatively about your situation and always be committed.