White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said Sunday (June 2) Palestinians deserve 'self-determination' but stopped short of backing Palestinian statehood.
In an interview with 'Axios on HBO' he also expressed uncertainty over Palestinians' ability to govern themselves.
Kushner is adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump and his son-in-law.
He's spent two years drafting Trump's yet-to-be-released Middle East peace plan in secrecy.
Even still, Palestinian and some Arab officials see the plan as tilted in Israel's favor- and likley to deny them their own state.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) AXIOS REPORTER JONATHAN SWAN SAYING: "You have cut all aid to the Palestinians, including hospitals in East Jerusalem, and you shut down the Palestinian Diplomatic office in Washington.
I mean, can you not see why they may not want to talk to you, that they might not trust you?" (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT JARED KUSHNER, SAYING: "There's a difference between the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people, ok." (SOUNDBITE) (English) AXIOS REPORTER JONATHAN SWAN SAYING: "And you think the Palestinian people would be ok with all of those things that you guys have done?" (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT JARED KUSHNER, SAYING: "The actions we have taken were because America's aid is not an entitlement.
Right, if we make certain decisions which we are allowed to as a sovereign nation to respect the rights of another sovereign nation, and we get criticized buy that government the response of this President is not yeah, let me give you more aid.
So, again that was a result of decision taken by the Palestinian leadership.
With regards to the Palestinian people, I believe that they want to have a better life.
And I do think that..." (SOUNDBITE) (English) AXIOS REPORTER JONATHAN SWAN SAYING: "They don't mind the aid being cut?" (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT JARED KUSHNER, SAYING: "Well, they are not going to judge anything based on trusting me, or trusting anyone else.
They are going to judge it based on the facts, and then make a determination.
Do they think this will allow them to have a better pathway to a better life, or not." The Palestinian leadership has boycotted a diplomatic push that Trump has hailed as the 'deal of the century.'
They've said they won't attend a U.S.-sponsored conference in June where the economic leg of the peace plan is expected to be unveiled.
And Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu must now fight another election in September, uncertainty that's expected to furthery delay the rollout of the plan.
The series Axios on HBO debuted June 2nd at 6pm.