(JTA) – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump reiterated that his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner could head efforts to broker a Middle East peace deal.
In an interview with the German newspaper Bild and The Times of London published Monday, Trump was asked what role Kushner, husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka, would play in his role as an unpaid adviser to his administration.
“Oh, really … Ya know what, Jared is such a good kid and he’ll make a deal with Israel that no one else can – ya know he’s a natural, he’s a great deal, he’s a natural – ya know what I was talking about, natural – he’s a natural deal-maker – everyone likes him,” replied Trump, according to a transcript of the interview in The Times of London.
Neither interviewer, British Conservative Party parliamentarian Michael Gove nor Kai Diekmann, former chief editor of Bild, pressed Trump on Kushner’s qualifications for the Middle East negotiator’s role, but instead asked what role if any Ivanka would play in his administration.
“Well, not now, she’s going to Washington,” Trump replied, “and they’re buying a house or something, but ya know she’s got the children, so Jared will be involved as we announced – no salary, no nothing. If he made peace – who’d be better at that then Jared, right – there’s something about him.”
Kushner, 36, an Orthodox Jew who is the grandson of Holocaust survivors, has headed his family’s real estate business and is the publisher of The Observer, a New York newspaper covering real estate and finance. Although Kushner has no experience in government or diplomacy, Trump has said that Kushner “knows the region, knows the people, knows the players.”
Kushner’s views on solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have not been made public, although he was said to have contributed to a speech Trump gave to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2016. In that speech, Trump vowed to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, “the eternal capital of the Jewish people,” and said the Palestinians must accept as a given the closeness of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been moribund and figures on both sides have been pessimistic about their revival. Trump has offered no details on how he would approach Israeli-Palestinian peace, although he said he would like a crack at negotiating a deal. With his campaign’s approval, the Republican Party over the summer adopted a platform that for the first time since 2004 does not mention a two-state solution, deferring to Israel on what the parameters of peace negotiations should be.