Mideast peace plan in tatters as Kushner rips Palestinians

US President Donald Trump and his senior adviser Jared Kushner

US President Donald Trump and his senior adviser Jared Kushner

US President Donald Trump's special adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been touting a US-designed peace deal to Palestinians "soon" to be revealed after the US Embassy's move to Jerusalem derailed relations in the region. The White House issued brief, near-identical statements after their stops in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.

Kushner said in the interview that the Arab leaders he spoke with stressed the need for a Palestinian state with a capital of East Jerusalem and for the Al Aqsa Mosque - a holy site in Islam that rests on the Temple Mount, a holy site in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - to remain open to Muslims who want to worship there. The status of East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of a sovereign Palestinian state, has been at the center of the decades-long struggle for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. He was referring to the United States "deal of the century" on how to forge peace in the Middle East.

"The actual details of the deal are between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but the economic plan we are working on will extend to the Jordanian and Egyptian people as well", said Kushner. He has the same talking points that haven't changed in the past 25 years.

"Kushner's interview again illustrates the US refusal to talk substance, to mention Palestinian rights or a Palestinian state", Erekat told NBC News in a statement released by his office.

"I must say that there was total support for our positions and actions to ensure the security of the State of Israel", Netanyahu said.

According to Haaretz, the IDF said the strikes were on Hamas targets in Gaza and on Palestinians who were preparing to send further fire vessels across the border.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, June 17, 2018.

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Abbas has refused to meet with Kushner and other members of the Trump administration, accusing them of bias toward Israel.

In Jerusalem, he will stay at the King David hotel, which was Britain's administrative headquarters during its rule of Palestine prior to Israeli statehood in 1948. Israeli-Palestinian negotiations stalled in 2014 over disputes that have deepened with bloodshed in Gaza and the USA recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Wasel Abu Yusef, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, claimed the USA has failed to win the backing of some Arab countries for its peace plan.

Palestinian leaders say the move confirms their long-held suspicions that the U.S. is not an honest broker in the on-again, off-again peace talks, but is allied with Israel.

After Israel's devastating military onslaught against Hamas-run Gaza in mid-2014, in which some 2,150 Palestinians were killed, Israel began allowing Palestinian fishermen to fish up to six nautical miles off the Gaza coast, as opposed to three nautical miles previously.

"After beginning as a popular phenomenon, it has become clear in recent weeks that the launching of arson and explosive device-laden kites and balloons is now a deliberate activity, planned and executed by the Hamas terror organization, targeting Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip", the IDF said.

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