Kushner rips Abbas, says Mideast peace plan due 'soon'

Palestinian protestors prepare to fly a kite loaded with an incendiary during a demonstration along the border with Israel

Kushner represented the White House at the grand opening of the newly-inaugurated US Embassy in Jerusalem in March, which saw fierce clashes between the Israeli military and Palestinian protesters that left over 100 people dead and thousands injured.

"If there's any plan, this it's being implemented on the ground: with moving the U.S. embassy to occupied Jerusalem, withdrawing support for the two-state solution, cutting funds to UNRWA [UN Relief and Works Agency] and, eventually trying to normalize the Israeli apartheid in Palestine", Saeb Erekat said, as cited by Middle East Eye. "Don't let your leadership reject a plan they haven't even seen".

Kushner and Greenblatt's trip to Jerusalem followed a regional tour that included Jordan and Egypt - Israel's neighbours and peace partners - and Qatar, a Gulf state that has helped fund humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Erekat suggested that the Trump administration wants to sideline UNRWA, whose role is to perpetuate the refugee issue, thereby eliminating the main claim of the PLO to a Palestinian State: "They want to terminate the role of UNRWA by proposing direct aid to the countries hosting the Palestinian refugees and sideline the United Nations agency", and "on top of this, they are planning financial aid to the Gaza Strip worth one billion dollars for projects, also separate from UNRWA and under the title of solving a humanitarian crisis".

Veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, meanwhile, told the Voice of Palestine on Saturday that the projects for Gaza - done outside the aegis of UNRWA, which he said the U.S. wants to terminate by proposing direct aid to countries hosting Palestinian refugees - "is actually aimed at liquidating the issue of the Palestinian refugees". "It is unacceptable, we are the elected leadership of the Palestinian people", added Erekat, the PA's point man for peace talks. "This is an attempt to push forward a plan that consolidates Israel's colonial control over Palestinian land and lives while telling the Palestinian people that money will compensate for our inalienable rights", he said. The document clearly states that the future Palestinian State should be established in territories occupied by Israel since 1967, with East Jerusalem as the capital.

The Palestinians refused to meet with Kushner, and leaders have criticized the Trump negotiating team in recent days.

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Kushner said that the proposal is still in the works, only promising that it will be ready "soon".

"These things are clear - one, how do we maintain security, and two, how to prevent a wider escalation - if this is at all possible", Netanyahu said.

In December, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh claimed that the plan would involve making the tiny Arab village of Abu Dis in the West Bank the capital of the future Palestinian State instead of East Jerusalem. Israeli forces and settlers pulled out of the Gaza Strip, now controlled by Abbas's main rival, the Islamist Hamas group, in 2005.

He added: "They want to see a deal that respects the dignity of the Palestinians, and puts an actual solution to the issues that have been discussed for decades".

US -brokered peace talks collapsed in 2014.

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