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CNN International: Interview with Jared Kushner. Aired 3:30- 4:07p ET

Aired January 28, 2020 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:30:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: You've been watching CNN's coverage of President Trump's impeachment trial; the defense has rested. Now we turn to the administration's unveiling of its Middle East Peace Plan.

I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

President Trump was joined at the White House today by only one party to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and that was the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who himself, just hours earlier, had been formally indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. They stood side-by-side to praise the proposal that included no input from the Palestinians.

Here's what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITES STATES: My vision presents a win/win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood, to Israel's security.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Too many plans tried to pressure Israel to withdraw from vital territory, like the Jordan Valley. But you, Mr. President, you recognized that Israel must have sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the other --

(APPLAUSE)

-- and other strategic areas of Judea and Samaria.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Now both leaders acknowledge this proposal would meet with criticism and opposition, especially from the Palestinians, who have cut off dialogue with the Trump administration, since the president moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognized Israel's undivided sovereignty over the city.

And indeed, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has already rejected it, saying the Palestinians cannot be brought to their knees and this deal will not pass.

At the White House ceremony, Netanyahu paid tribute to President Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, for his work on the plan, saying that Israel owes Kushner a debt of gratitude.

And now Jared Kushner joins me from the White House. Welcome to the program, Jared Kushner.

JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, Christiane. It's an honor to be with you.

AMANPOUR: OK, so Jared, this is a huge day for you, for the president, and let's face it, for Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies and supporters. We know that they believe this to be a great deal because they've said it -- he has said it from the podium.

But I want to pick up on what the president said, that he wanted to make this a win/win deal, including for the Palestinians.

Can you tell me -- sort of lay out precisely where you think the win is for the Palestinians? The precise details.

KUSHNER: Perfect. Well, first of all, I'd like to say that today was a big accomplishment for President Trump, something that only he could have done. He met yesterday with Prime Minister Netanyahu, but also with General Gantz, his opponent, in a time of very divisive politics in Israel, where they can't agree on much. He brought the country together on what has been the most divisive issue.

What he's also done is we've released an 80-page, detailed plan. In the past plans, you had the Arab Peace Initiative, which is a very good effort, which is about eight lines, and then you had past proposals which were two to three pages of wordsmith documents, really talking about high principles.

He also got Israel to agree, for the first time, to a state and he got Israel to agree to a map.

[15:35:00] So what you've seen today is that President Trump's built a lot of trust with the State of Israel. He's done a lot of great things that have made Israel more secure and the relationship between America and Israel stronger.

And what he's been able to do today is deliver for the Palestinians a pathway to a state, a contiguous territory and conditions where they can earn their way to their independence, their dignity. All these different things along with a $50 billion economic plan that could make them a very, very thriving state in the future.

So it's a big opportunity for the Palestinians, and you know, they have a perfect track record of blowing every opportunity they've had in their past, but perhaps maybe their leadership will read the details of it, stop posturing and do what's best to try to make the Palestinian people's lives better.

AMANPOUR: Jared, with respect, obviously there have been Israel prime ministers who have also talked about a two-state solution, a Palestinian state -- also American presidents, and there have been maps. There's the Oslo map, there's the current map and there's the one that you have just revealed in this 80-page plan.

I guess I want to ask you, because clearly the president himself, President Trump said, you know, we'll wait to see what the Arab world says, because what they say will be, you know, very important, in terms of how this will play out.

It was noticeable that in the White House -- in the White House ceremony, there was only the ambassadors from Oman, the UAE and Bahrain.

Given that the Palestinians have rejected and the Jordanians have already issued a statement, which I can read parts of it to you, where does this go next? What do you think is going to happen next since there has not been the (ph) full-some support publicly from the heavyweights in the Arab world?

KUSHNER: Yes, I'll be honest with you, it's very difficult to do a remote interview with you, where you're going to assert all these different things as facts without giving me the chance to respond to things that are not correct.

I'm happy to answer that question, but if I can go back to the premise that I don't want to accept in your question, again, I've studied this now very closely for the last three years. I have not found any maps from any past negotiations that have ever been produced. Nor have I ever -- there's never been a map in the history of this that has been accepted by the state of Israel. So hopefully you'll stipulate to that.

Israel also does not have diplomatic relations with the countries that you mentioned, and the fact that they showed up today to celebrate the Israeli -- current Israeli prime minister, agreeing to negotiate on the framework of a basis of a state, I think also a very significant achievement.

And if you look at what President Trump has done in the region overall, he's unified the region around common goals and shared enemies.

So what he's been able to do is get people to focus on Iran and their maligned behavior by putting a chokehold on their finances; we've stopped a lot of funding of terror. When President Trump got here there was -- ISIS had a caliphate the size of Ohio. He's destroyed that, and he just killed their leader Al-Baghdadi. And he's been working with Saudi Arabia and a lot of the other countries to combat extremism and the ideology.

So what we're seeing from a lot of other countries is they're very, very thrilled that there's finally a real effort on the table, there's a real plan on the table, a real offer and that President Trump was able to steer that. They recognize that no other president would have been able to achieve that.

And they're hopeful that the Palestinians for once will do something rational, come to the table and negotiate. And so the terms are not final terms, this is an opening offer. And if the Palestinians come and they have some adjustments, they want to move the line, they want to change one of the sentences, they want to negotiate on different things, there will be flexibility.

[15:40:00] And one thing I'll just say, too, Christiane, is that actually when I was with the Sultan of Oman, he said something to me that really resignated, where he said, I feel bad for the Palestinian people, that they carry the burden with them of the entire Muslim world. And it made me really understand that this is two different conflicts that have been conflated, that people have used for their own different purposes over the years; never for good.

You have a territorial dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians and a security dispute. There's a very prescriptive outcome that we proposed for that. If the Palestinians have issues with that, they should try to come and negotiate it.

Then you have a religious dispute between Israel and the entire Islamic world, and that's over the Haram al-Sharif, the mosque. What the president also got Israel to acknowledge today is the special role that the King of Jordan plays with that site and also to say that all Muslims from throughout the world are welcome to come and pray.

And so I do think that that will help bring Israel and the Muslim world closer together, because Jerusalem is a city, that whether you're a Muslim, a Christian or a Jew, it's something that everyone should be able to come and practice their religion and enjoy, regardless of a territorial and security dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

So I do think we've made historic progress today. And again, I really hope that you'll acknowledge that, and, again, read the plan. And I think you'll see a lot of very good support from places that nobody was expecting it.

AMANPOUR: OK, so, you know, obviously there are a few questions to ask you in there. You've stated your case very eloquently. You've worked on this for, I guess nearly three years, and you have come out and you've unveiled it. But, to several points here.

You know, there are two Arab countries which have relations with Israel, historic relations; Egypt and Jordan. They were not present at the ceremony, and Jordan did put out a statement which basically said, was worried about the quote "Dangerous consequences of unilateral Israeli actions, including the annexation of Palestinian land, the building and expansion of settlements and any encroachment on the holy sites that aim to impose new realities on the ground," including what even Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged, was for the first time, the Americans have -- you, your administration has recognized the annexation, i.e. Israel sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, which is right next door to Jordan.

So there is an unprecedented amount of territory that you have offered to the Israelis; that the United States has now offered to the Israelis and the Israeli -- the Israeli government is in a bit of an uproar -- Prime Minister Netanyahu was indicted today, shortly before standing next to the president, who's also being impeached. I guess the question is, do you expect Israel, as Netanyahu has said, to immediately enact, as he said, Israeli law over the Jordan Valley, over the areas of the settlements, over Jerusalem -- or like Benny Gantz, the opposition leader says, you know, we need to wait, we need to see this as a basis for negotiations, and furthermore, we shouldn't take these actions unless we have a stable Israeli government.

You know their election's coming up in less than six weeks. Why now, I guess? What's the rush?

KUSHNER: Well, it's not about rush. Again, getting both parties in an Israeli election to agree is a historic accomplishment on a very contentious issue. Again, you raised a lot of concepts. Let me try to go through them, so that I don't accept premises that may not be accurate.

With regards to the Israeli politics with what we're going to do, what we released was a conceptual map. It's going to take us a couple of months to go through it and try to get it detailed. So it could take us two, three, four months to do that; we'll start the process immediately.

Again, we welcome the Palestinians, if they want to come and be a part of it, if they have suggestions for areas to include or not include, we're happy to do it.

Again, I come from a real estate background, it was very, very difficult to draw these lines and to get a map where you could have contiguity to a Palestinian state.

And again, this isn't because of something that we developed, this is something that we inherited, the situation where Israel continues to grow and grow. And what the president secured today was Israel agreeing to stop for four years more settlements, to give the Palestinians their last chance to finally have a state.

The other thing I'll say is you mentioned the Jordan statement, which I have not had the chance to see, but there was a good statement from Egypt. The U.K. just put out a very encouraging statement. I believe there's more statements coming in the Middle East. I saw a couple more coming out that were very supportive. They called this a very serious proposal and they encourage both sides to negotiate on the basis of this deal.

And so I think what we have today is a real breakthrough. And so the question then comes down to the Palestinian leadership. Right? They've been saying that they're victims for a long time.

They're doing fine. There's been a lot of corruption, a lot of mismanaged funds. You know, a lot of the leadership is great. They're rich, their friends are rich, their families are rich. But the Palestinian people have been stuck in this cycle.

So the question for the international world is, are we going to continue to tolerate this. But what we've now put together for them is a real offer on the table. You talk about the borders -- right now under this plan that we've proposed, they can double the size of the land that they have available. They can have $50 billion of investment, which will lead to over a million Palestinian good-paying jobs. It could double the size of their GDP.

So again, what I've been fighting against is an illogical construct created by people who had no interest in solving a problem. And what we've tried to do is attack that by putting out a very detailed, logical solution.

[15:45:00] So again, I think that people have to look at this fresh. That's one of the great things that President Trump has done on this, but he does it on everything which is he comes in, he's a pragmatist; he looks at the problems.

And again, our economy's stronger than it's ever been; our country's safer than it's ever been. And that's only because President Trump is putting in place policies that may be driving people who are traditional thinkers crazy, but things that are very disruptive and are clearly making America stronger --

AMANPOUR: OK, so on the issue -

KUSHNER: -- better world.

AMANPOUR: -- of traditional thinkers and driving people crazy -- I just want to pick you up on what you said, because if indeed this is a basis for negotiations, and the Palestinians do take up the offer and come to the United States or to the administration and try to negotiate, you know, that's one thing.

So I want to ask you then, you called it a conceptual map, and you've called this a basis for negotiations. The Israeli prime minister has stated that this weekend he will impose the laws of the State of Israel -- those are the words out of his mouth -- on the Jordan Valley, on those areas in the West Bank, he calls it Judea and Samaria, where there are settlements and other such places -- and presumably over Jerusalem as well -- or I don't know about Eastern Jerusalem, but nonetheless -- if that happens this weekend, is that with the approval of the United States?

KUSHNER: Yeah, I don't believe that's going to happen this weekend, at least not as far as I know.

But again, a lot of these areas -- just the reality is that Israel is there and they're -- and they're not leaving. There's never been a deal where they've contemplated doing that, and it's not pragmatic.

I'm not looking at the world as it existed in 1967. I'm looking at the world as it exists in 2020. You have 5 million Palestinians who are really trapped because of bad leadership.

So what we've done is we've created an opportunity for their leadership to either seize or not. If they screw up this opportunity -- which again, they have a perfect track record of missing opportunities -- if they screw this up, I think that they will have a very hard time looking the international community in the face, saying they're victims, saying they have rights.

This is a great deal for them. If they come to the table and negotiate, I think they can get something excellent.

(CROSSTALK)

KUSHNER: Look, we'll work through it.

AMANPOUR: Yes. Sorry --

KUSHNER: All right (ph), go ahead.

AMANPOUR: Yeah, I just want to ask you, because I know my time is somewhat limited, but you know, Benjamin Netanyahu paid you specifically great tribute and said that the state of Israel owes you a great debt of gratitude.

However, other Israelis, former negotiators, people who are also Israeli and Jewish patriots, people who have been ministers in previous Israeli cabinets, have said today, at least one of them Yossi Beilin, this is not a deal for Israel.

Why are we celebrating it? Maybe for one party and one segment of Israeli society, but he said, Trump has said, you can take it all, take whatever you want -- Jordan Valley settlements, Jerusalem -- take the lot of it; annex it all. This will give us, he said, one state where we will be the minority.

Answer that. Other people have said that today. Answer the idea of a two-state solution --

KUSHNER: Yes.

AMANPOUR: -- not being viable anymore.

KUSHNER: Yes, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to talk about these things. Because when we talk about random individuals who don't have a lot of say, or maybe knowledge, or who have tried and failed --

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: Jared, he was a negotiator and a former Israeli cabinet minister.

KUSHNER: OK. How did he do with his negotiations? This thing is as screwed up as it's ever been, Christiane. So look, I've been getting criticized for the last couple of years by all the people who have tried and failed for not doing this the same way that -- that they have. OK?

We've put a real offer on the table today. We have a unified Israel, getting both General Gantz and Prime Minister Netanyahu to come to the White House is a historic achievement.

What I would encourage people to do is try to divorce yourself from all of the history that's happened over the years and read this plan. Look at the map and say -- two questions in mind. Number one, does this make the lives of the Palestinian people much better? The answer is unquestionably yes.

The second question -- does this compromise Israel's security or does this make Israel much more secure? And the answer is unquestionably, doing this deal makes Israel much more secure. Why? Why?

Because it gives them a defensible territory, it reduces tension in the region. And it gives them the ability now -- now that they have agreed to this, you are going to see them becoming less and less isolated internationally and you're going to see more and more pressure put on Palestinian leadership to do it.

What we've -- look, right now, what's Palestinian leadership? You're talking about them like they're great diplomats. What are they calling for? They're calling for a day of rage. Who do you know that runs a state that when they don't get what they want they call for a day of rage? That's not how people who are capable of running a state work.

So again, the Palestinian leadership have to ask themselves a question, do they want to have a state, do they want to have a better life. If they do, we have created a framework for them to have it and we're going to treat them in a very respectful manner. If they don't, then they're going to screw up another opportunity like they've screwed up every opportunity that they've ever had in their existence. So --

AMANPOUR: Well --

KUSHNER: Again, I just -- Christiane, we're pragmatists, we're realists. I'm focused on a lot of problems here in America. The reason why this is important is because this conflict has been a -- has been something that's been used to stoke extremism in the region for a long time.

We're doing a good job of -- of cleaning out a lot of the mosques and restoring the ideology and working with our partners to make sure that people are doing it.

But what we've done today will make it much easier for Israel to normalize relations with people who it does not have relationship with (ph) the Arab world. It will allow Muslims who have wanted to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque to start coming to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. And I think it has -- it lets the world and a region that's been stuck have the ability to move forward.

And I'll just say this, which is a final thing, right, you've been covering this for a very long time. And if somebody was successful, I wouldn't be dealing with this and I wouldn't have this additional responsibility to the other (ph) things I have. I think that people should try to be optimistic. I think they should root for peace to be successful and I think they should hope that it happens.

And again, if people want to be whys people and figure out why this is complicated or why it could fail, there's a millions reasons you could do. But great leaders like President Trump, what he does is he tries to push things forward and doesn't let the ankle biters or the naysayers -- you know, let their negativity drive it forward.

So again, we're fighting against a lot of emotion. And the way we did that is by putting out an 80-page logical plan. We've put out a map. We've gotten Israel to make historic concessions. We've unified Israel.

I don't know, you know, the guy you're mentioning about. But we have Gantz and we have Bibi both showing up, the two most popular people in Israel who lead the two biggest parties right now. And they've both agreed to negotiate on that (ph) basis and see this as a big step forward.

So I'm sorry. If you don't -- if you don't accept this as a major opportunity for Palestinians and a major step forward then I just think you have unrealistic expectations. And again, you're probably stuck with the people who have been busy turning this into a cottage industry and not solving this problem.

AMANPOUR: I assume you're not actually addressing me directly, so I will put those issues --

KUSHNER: No, not you. It's -- it's the general --

(CROSSTALK)

[15:50:00] AMANPOUR: I will put those questions -- I can assure you, too, the Palestinian leadership will interview the prime minister tomorrow and we will put (ph) some of those issues too.

Obviously the world is also waiting for you to raise that $50 billion that you promised at the Bahrain Conference, which the Arab states have not yet ponied (ph) up --

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: And that underpins --

KUSHNER: One second, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Yes.

KUSHNER: Christiane, I'd like to say that, first of all, I've had discussions with a lot of the countries on that. The money is definitely there. I have soft commitments for most of it, but it's subject to them having a regime where you could actually invest. You can't invest in a place that doesn't have property rights, that doesn't have governance. You need a place free of terror.

What all the businesspeople were saying at the conference is we're dying to help the Palestinian people. We have a lot of money we're willing to invest --

AMANPOUR: Yes.

KUSHNER: But we can't invest in a place where we're scared of terrorism. You can't invest --

AMANPOUR: Right.

KUSHNER: You can't invest where you don't have a judiciary, you don't have freedom of press, you don't have human rights. When you ask -- when you interview President Abbas tomorrow, ask him about (ph) --

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: I'm going to be interviewing the prime minister --

KUSHNER: And history (ph) is not the one (ph) --

AMANPOUR: I'm going to be interviewing the prime minister --

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: Listen, I know you have to go and I'm getting the hard wrap (ph) from your people. But we did say we're going to ask you another question of the day. As you know, many observers have -- you know, mentioned the elephant in the room, that the president of the United States is under impeachment and under trail in the Senate, the prime minister of Israel is under indictment for corruption and all sorts of other things.

You are the wrangler for the president's defense. How do you think it's going, do you think John Bolton will be called, and what do you think about witnesses?

KUSHNER: Right, so first of all, I'd like to say that since the impeachment started until now, the president's risen about seven points in the polls. I think RCP today just came out and said that he had his highest number ever.

I'm less versed with what's going on in Israel, but what I can tell you here is that from the day that President Trump got into office, they've been talking about impeaching him, they tried to investigate him with the Russia thing.

How many stories on CNN did you have that you accused me of treason and all these different crazy things which, I came out right away, I testified for 20 hours and then poof all of a sudden it's like nothing ever happened, right?

There's a lot of dirty stuff in politics. And again, President Trump is an outsider. He came to Washington promising to do things -- a lot of people in Washington don't like it. He's keeping his promises, he's created over seven million jobs. He's taken millions of Americans off of food stamps and out of poverty. Our economy's never been stronger.

And so President Trump, he -- you know, we have a team that deals with the impeachment, because it's a -- it's a nuisance, but the reality is, is we have a lot of people today -- tomorrow we're signing USMCA, the largest trade deal in the history of the world --

AMANPOUR: OK.

KUSHNER: A deal with Mexico and Canada. We signed a historic trade deal with China, just a couple of weeks ago.

So while the Democrats are busy going crazy trying to impeach the president, he's out creating opportunities for the American people and making the world a much better place.

So I'll be honest with you, it really doesn't take a lot of our time. And quite frankly, I'm also seeing it on the T.V. ratings -- they continue to go down and down. And I'm glad we get to do this interview now, because if people are watching impeachment, I'm sure they'd be bored out of their minds.

AMANPOUR: Yes. Maybe ratings would go up if they saw you. You're a very good spokesman for the president.

KUSHNER: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: You didn't answer my question about how the defense is going and whether John Bolton will be called. But, we'll leave that for another day.

I appreciate it.

KUSHNER: Oh, well I can answer that. The defense is going great, honestly I feel like -- again, it's very easy to defend when they don't really have any legitimate accusations against you. So we're very pleased with the defense.

We feel like, again, the president's been totally vindicated. He's done nothing wrong here. And we're very excited to go back to trying to do the business of the American people. Thank you very much.

AMANPOUR: All right, and we're going to turn back to the Middle East peace proposal that you have unveiled. Thanks for joining us from the White House.

So we're going to deep into that proposal with two people who have been in the room before on previous peace negotiations. Aaron David Miller, who worked for American presidents of both parties.

And Marwan Muasher following the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, he became Jordan's first ever ambassador to Israel. And later he was foreign minister and Prime Minister of Jordan.

Both of you, welcome to the program. I guess I need to ask you both to comment really on what you just heard from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Because Jared Kushner has just put forth the Trump administration and the Netanyahu administrations view of why this is great deal.

So from the Arab perspective, Marwan Muasher, what can you say about it being a win-win for the Palestinians?

MARWAN MUASHER, FORMER JORDIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well Christiane, this is really a one state solution couched (ph) in two state lingo. I mean the plan -- plans to annex all of the Jordan valley, all of the settlement blocks, all of Jerusalem, keep security control in all of historic Palestine with Israel and then claims that it is doubling the land for the Palestinians.

I mean people are not going to be fooled by semantics. This is a plan that gives Israel everything today and gives the Palestinians only the chance to negotiate the rest of the West Bank in four years should they meet this criteria.

It is not a plan for a viable solution and it's not a coincidence that the Palestinian side was not there, you know, in the White House today. With -- with full respect for the Arab countries that were there, they are not living on the land, they are not the ones involved.

The Palestinians have to be satisfied with -- with a viable solution to the conflict, otherwise we truly are looking at a one state solution and not a two state one.

[15:55:00] AMANPOUR: So let me just ask you just to answer directly to what Kushner says. The Palestinians have never lost an opportunity to lose an opportunity. That's a line from a previous Israeli foreign minister, as you know.

But the question is, should the Palestinians be advised to take this as the basis of something of negotiations and engage with the Trump administration. Is it not further shooting them in the -- themselves in the foot just to say, you know, (inaudible) we're not going to deal with this and we're going to have a day of rage.

MUASHER: You would have to have something, you know, reasonable to start negotiations, Christiane. This is not a reasonable plan. This is a farce in my view. No Palestinian, no Arab can accept a plan that does not include, you know, part Jerusalem.

That does not include the right of return, the does not include sort of the majority of the West Bank and Gaza. You cannot take all of these away off the negotiations table and then ask the Palestinians to negotiate for the rest of the 70 percent or 60 percent of the West Bank.

That's not a -- you know that's not a reasonable solution. In my view this only formulizing an upper tide (ph) system with the Palestinians.

AMANPOUR: Let me turn to Aaron David Miller who has been your partner in past negotiations and I said, served many American presidents from both sides of the aisle. Can you describe what has just happened, Aaron David Miller, and do you think that this is at least the basis for future negotiations and answer what Marwan just said about, you know, is it a doubling or an increase in the size of territory offered to the Palestinians?

What about Jerusalem? The president said that U.S. would proudly build an embassy in that part -- he said Eastern (ph) Jerusalem, not East Jerusalem. I don't know whether that was just a misspeak or what. What -- what stood out for you?

AARON DAVID MILLER, FORMER U.S. MIDDLE EAST NEGOTIATOR: You know I'm one of those failed peacemakers under both Republican and Democratic administrations that I think Mr. Kushner was referring to.

And I understand his point. We've tried and -- and some of our ideas were half baked. Most failed in large part because neither Israelis nor Palestinians were prepared to make the kinds of decisions.

My concern is this, Christiane -- and when I met Mr. Kushner for the first time I -- I said to him; I wish -- half jokingly I said I wish my father-in-law had has a much confidence in me as your father-in- law has in you because he's given you mission impossible.

I said you can't solve this but you can make it worse. And in my judgment -- and I understand all of Mr. Kushner's points. The importance of pragmatism, practicality, the importance of broadening the economic horizons of Palestinians.

But the reality is what -- what has happened here today, in my judgment, was not a question of peace making, it was largely a question of -- of politics. And the administration, once again in my view, has come up with a solution to a problem we didn't have and in the process made that -- made that problem even worse.

There was no reason to put a comprehensive settlement for Israeli/Palestinian peace on the table. Certainly not one that carries as many flaws and draws -- drawbacks as the one Mr. Kushner proposed.

As Marwan knows, this is a fraud enterprise. If they were serious what they would have done is spend the hundreds of hours that are required to meet separately with the Israelis, separately with the Palestinians.

They would have encouraged both Israelis and Palestinians to sit together and they would have mediated trilateral three way talks with the U.S. to try to really understand the needs and requirements of both sides and to create a -- not an imbalance of power but a balance of interest.

They didn't do that. And they didn't do it because the objective of this plan was not peacemaking. It was, in my judgment, domestic politics. And in that they may have succeeded. They boosted Mr. Trump's stock as a representative of a Republican Party that is now emerging as the go to party when it comes to supporting Israel.

They may or may not have boosted Mr. Netanyahu's chances in the next election, who knows. And they fundamentally taken steps to revise a traditional American approach to Israeli/Palestinian peacemaking, which frankly has failed but isn't doomed to failure. And that's why I have a problem as an American with what Mr. Kushner and the Trump administration has done.

AMANPOUR: OK. So let me just try to understand some of this. I mean to be fair, Kushner and his -- and his, you know fellow administration, you know, compatriots have worked on this for three years.

I understand what you're saying. They haven't maybe sat down with the -- certainly with the Palestinian side for the requisite number of hours that you say. But again, it just seems that there is -- I mean even if you just take this deal out of the equation, nothing has worked.

Literally nothing. So what is the answer, Marwan, from where you sit? And as I said to Mr. Kushner, neither Saudi Arabia, the guardian of the two holy mosques, the so called father of the Muslim nations, nor Egypt, nor the Jordanians, the only two Arab countries which have peace deals with Israel, neither of you were on the room for this.

None of you were in the room for this. What can be done to actually come to a deal? What could this administration have done, particularly (inaudible) Netanyahu over the last three years? What could it have done, do you think?

[16:00:00]

MUASHER: Christiane, it could have offered something which is viable, as I said -- which at least the Palestinians can work with. Right now what is being offered is basically saying, we are killing the two- state solution, we are for a one-state solution.

That is what they are saying, and I think in that -- in that case, if that is indeed what Israel and what the United States want to do, then the Palestinians are going to demand equal rights in the state that controls them.

And then the international community that Mr. Kushner talked about -- the international community, if a two-state solution dies, is not going to stand still and watch an appetite (ph) system, it definitely -- if people want equal rights, I think American Congress, the American people, the international community are not going to stand aside if people demand equal rights and don't get them.

That is what we are talking about if they're -- if the two-state solution is killed, as I think it has been already.

AMANPOUR: OK. So I want to ask you this, and I want to put this sound bite from Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister. Because President Trump specifically called upon your king, King Abdullah of Jordan, to monitor and manage the Al-Aqsa mosque.

And he also talked about, as you know, formalizing Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley which, far as I can tell, in any other peace plan wasn't on the table. This is what Benjamin Netanyahu has said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: It stipulates that Israeli will retain security control in the entire area west of the Jordan River, thereby giving Israel a permanent eastern border -- a permanent eastern border to defend ourselves across our longest border.

This is something we've longed to have, we now have such a recognized boundary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So, can Jordan accept that?

MUASHER: No, Jordan cannot accept that and you know, offering Jordan custodianship over the holy places in Jerusalem, which it already has, is no substitute for a Palestinian state, on the west bank and Gaza, and of course in east Jerusalem.

Otherwise, if there is no such state west of the river, Jordan fears that the solution might come at its expense. So there's no amount of sort of bribery, if you will, that can be offered to Jordan less than a full Palestinian state and a viable Palestinian state in the west bank and Gaza.

AMANPOUR: Let me put to you, Aaron David Miller, what President Trump -- sort of a mash-up of President Trump's promises to the Palestinian side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: This map will more than double the Palestinian territory and provide a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem where America will proudly open an embassy.

No Palestinians or Israelis will be uprooted from their homes.

Our vision will deliver a massive commercial investment of $50 billion in to the new Palestinian state. You have many, many countries that want to partake in this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Can you deconstruct that for us? Particularly the size of the Palestinian state, and when he said no Palestinian or Israeli will be asked to leave, or uproot from their homes?

MILLER: On a large measure, that's I think a pretty directed green light for the Israelis to essentially sanction the existence of Jewish settlements throughout the west bank. Now, under any circumstances -- and look at Gaza, it took Sharon, the architect of the settlement enterprise to essentially dismantle and remove Israeli Jews from Gaza, and it was an extremely painful experience.

So the notion of having to remove -- even if you could incorporate a vast majority of the Israeli -- Israelis who live beyond the green line (ph), in to the major settlement block, you're still left with roughly 80,000 Israelis living in settlements that are not approximate to the green line (ph).

What Mr. Trump has done, I think, is to suggest that those individuals and the individuals in the blocks (ph) clearly in a negotiation even the Palestinians were prepared to recognize, that some of these key blocks would be incorporated in to Israel.

I think that the offer to the Palestinians, frankly, has gone down. And this reflects, to a certain degree, Christiane, the mentality of the bankruptcy attorney. Where, on Friday if you don't accept $0.50 on the $1, by Sunday it's now $0.25.

[16:05:00]

And the fact is this was one, I think, of the administration and Mr. Kushner's key objectives -- to make it unmistakably clear to the Palestinians that they have lost, that the game is over. And unless they accept this pathway, they're not getting $0.50 on the $1, they're not getting $0.25 on the $1, they may end up with nothing.

And frankly, even in the imperfect world in which we live, with all of the flaws of the Palestinian leadership and the Israeli leadership, that is no way for the world's most consequential power to conduct a negotiation.

Marwan is 100 percent right, if they were serious about this -- really determined, they would have applied enormous amounts of honey (ph) to the Israelis in anticipation of asking when the time was right, for the Israelis to swallow the vinegar that needs to be swallowed if you're going to meet the needs and requirements of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Last point, I still believe, I know Marwan may not agree -- that with wise and prudent leadership, and ownership on the part of Israelis and Palestinians, the idea of a two-state solution is not totally dead. But what has (ph) -- Trump administration has accomplished today, I'm afraid is to open the door to unilateral Israeli moves that make ultimately cause the demise of that solution on the watch of this president.

AMANPOUR: And finally, we've talked about this, this one state solution and it's a big worry for a lot of Israelis and a lot of American Jews, it's a big, big worry that this could be an inadvertent result of this ongoing stalemate.

But Marwan, I want to ask you this, you heard Jared Kushner say to a direct question of mine, what if Netanyahu does what he said he is going to do, and he said that this weekend he is going to extend the law of the state of Israel over the Jordan Valley, over those settlement areas and the other places that he said President Trump has given them.

Jared Kushner said, I don't think that's going to happen this weekend. What if that happens? What is the response of Jordan, and the King, and your government?

MUASHER: I think that is a big likelihood that it will happen, actually. And if that happens, then it is really announcing the formal death of the two-state solution. Jordan cannot acquiesce or accept this fact, because as I said that means that if there is no Palestinian state in the west bank and Gaza.

Jordan fears that if Israel does not want a Palestinian state in the west bank and it does not want a Palestinian majority in the areas under its control, and today the Palestinians are a majority -- then they are going to do something to either cause a major expulsion of Palestinians in to Jordan, or have a scenario of some sort -- some variation of this that would come at Jordan's expense.

Jordan is not in any position to accept this plan.

AMANPOUR: Can we just say again, Jordan, one of only two Arab countries that do have international relations and a peace treaty with Israel. Marwan Muasha, Aaron David Miller -- thank you very much for being with me tonight.

MILLER: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And that is it for us, for now. Thanks for watching, and we' now join "The Lead with Jake Tapper," it is in-progress.