Donald Trump has said he will put his 35-year old Jewish son-in-law in charge of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, but has rowed back from an earlier commitment to move the American embassy to Jerusalem
In the president-elect’s first major interviews with European media, with The Times and German newspaper Bild, he said that Jared Kushner – the husband of his daughter Ivanka – would “secure an Israel deal”.
Last week Kushner was appointed senior adviser to Trump, but despite critics accusing the incoming commander-in-chief of nepotism, the new U.S. president has stuck to earlier suggestions that his son-in-law would play a key role in securing a Middle East peace deal.
Trump said: “You know what? Jared is such a good lad. He will secure an Israel deal which no one else has managed to get. You know, he’s a natural talent, he is the top. He is a natural talent. You know what I’m talking about – a natural talent. He has an innate ability to make deals. Everyone likes him.”
Kushner is a New York real-estate mogul, like Trump, and ran the successful candidate’s social media campaign during the election. He has since taken an increasingly prominent role in Trump’s top team, even discussing U.K.-U.S. policy with Boris Johnson during British Foreign Secretary’s recent visit to the U.S.
Asked about President Obama’s refusal to veto a U.N. resolution condemning Jewish settlements in the West Bank late last year, Trump said the abstention was “terrible” and urged Britain to veto any forthcoming resolutions this week, during Obama’s last days in power.
“I would hope for a British veto,” he said. “I think it would be great if Great Britain would place a veto, because I’m not sure if the U.S. would do so, extraordinarily enough. They won’t do it, right? Do you believe the U.S. will place a veto?”
He added: “I have Jewish friends who organised a donor event for Obama. I say to them: ‘What on earth are you doing? OK, what are you doing?’”
For the first time, however, he refused to be re-commit to his campaign promise to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that analysts have said could trigger a new round of Palestinian violence. “I’m not going to comment on that,” he said. “But we’ll see.”