The comments underlined gaping divisions between Washington and the Palestinian leadership that have widened since Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and moved the US Embassy there, overriding decades of US policy.
Palestinian officials, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, accused Kushner of trying to undermine Abbas and what they described as their leader’s moderate camp.
Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law who is meeting leaders in the region, but not Abbas — told Palestinian newspaper Al Quds in an interview published in Arabic on Sunday, that he doubted whether the Palestinian president was willing or able to seal a deal.
“If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage; if he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly,” Kushner said, according to an English transcript of his words provided by Washington.
“However, I do question how much President Abbas has the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal. He has his talking points which have not changed in the last 25 years,” he added.
Kushner appealed directly to the Palestinian people and portrayed Abbas, 82, as a leader entrenched in the past.