US presidential adviser Jared Kushner (left) meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, the West Bank, on August 24, 2017. (Palestinian Presidency - handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Kushner: “People Surrounding Abbas…Attack and Say Crazy Things…”

One week following the economic workshop he oversaw in Bahrain, Jared Kushner told reporters that although he was “very fond” of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, “certain people around him are very uncomfortable with the way we’ve approached [the peace proposals] and their natural reaction is to attack and say crazy things” that don’t help the effort. The obvious attempt to separate the head man from the rest of the pack in order to maintain plausible deniability as the process moves forward and – hopefully to Kushner – Abbas relents and withdraws his absolute refusal to participate in U.S.-based efforts, came in a conference call that was addressing the apparent lack of traction generated in Bahrain. Also, in an apparent response to the lack of interest generated in Manama, Kushner said he will be releasing a portion of the political side of the plan sooner than intended. An overwhelming criticism of the effort to date is that the economic plan separate from the political plan is of dubious value. The comments focusing on the thorny issue of Palestinian refugees and the so-called “right of return” also promises to be contentious. The Trump plan apparently expects Arab countries where Palestinian refugees reside to bestow full rights of citizenship on those refugees living typically in camps. As with other issues, Team Trump expects financial incentives to make the plan work. There was no mention of a planned meeting between the president and Abbas.

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