Top Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat has described his combative last meeting with US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, before Washington announced it was recognizing Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as Israeli capital in December of last year.
On November 30, 2017, less than a week before Trump announced he was recognizing Al-Quds and relocating the US embassy there — a move that led the PA to sever its ties with the administration — Kushner met with Erekat at the White House, Erekat told the Doha Forum on international policy in Qatar on Sunday, in comments provided by Buzzfeed.
Erekat said that during the meeting he reminded Kushner that Trump was due to sign a presidential waiver delaying the move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Al-Quds, which had been decided on by the US Congress in 1995.
“I said, ‘what do you mean we’re not going to sign? The president promised us in the White House that he would not take any step that may preempt or pre-judge Jerusalem, not before negotiations,’” Erekat recalled.
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, responded, “It’s our business and we will conduct our policies according to our interests,” Erekat quoted Trump’s son-in-low as saying.
Erekat then declared that if the embassy move went ahead, the US would have “disqualified” itself from any role in the peace process.
Kushner responded: “Don’t threaten me,” to which Erekat retorted: “Read my lips. You will have disqualified yourself from any role in the peace process.”
“You don’t know the changes that are happening around you in the Arab world,” Kushner said according to Erakat.
“The best thing for me is to be a student, so teach me,” Erekat answered. Kushner allegedly shouted back: “Don’t be sarcastic!”
Erekat told the forum he then tried to explain his point of view and warn of the potential dire consequences to moving the embassy.
“Do you think Arab countries will open embassies in Tel Aviv and accept Jerusalem, with the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as Israel’s capital?” he recounted telling Kushner.
“To them Jerusalem is a red line — all of them! Saudis, Qataris, Egyptians, Jordanians, Bahrainis. So what are you talking about?”
Kushner wouldn’t explain. “This is our business, our policies,” he reportedly said.
“If you do this, you will bring Israelis and Palestinians to brink of disaster,” Erekat said he warned Kushner.
Source: Israeli media