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Netanyahu doubted Kushner’s ability to formulate Middle East peace plan, Bolton claims

Netanyahu was allegedly 'bewildered' by Jared Kushner's appointment [Israel Press Office/Handout/Anadolu/Getty]

Date of publication: 19 June, 2020

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John Bolton claims PM Benjamin Netanyahu was shocked at the appointment of Trump's son-in-law and special advisor Jared Kushner to lead the peace plan efforts.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu questioned Jared Kushner's ability to formulate a peace plan for the Middle East, US President Donald Trump's former national security advisor John Bolton wrote in an explosive new behind-the-scenes book according to excerpts released Thursday.

Bolton claims Netanyahu expressed his "bewilderment" at the appointment of Trump's son-in-law and special advisor Jared Kushner to lead the peace plan efforts, Haaretz reported.

Netanyahu allegedly made these remarks to Bolton before he joined the Trump administration.

Bolton wrote that Netanyahu "was dubious about assigning the task of bringing an end to the Israel-Palestinian conflict to Kushner, whose family Netanyahu had known for many years."

"He was enough of a politician not to oppose the idea publicly, but like much of the world, he wondered why Kushner thought he would succeed where the likes of Kissinger had failed," he added.

Netanyahu's office rejected the claims.  

"Prime Minister Netanyahu has complete faith in Jared Kushner's abilities and resolve and rejects any description to the contrary," it said in a statement.

"The US administration's Middle East team led by Kushner successfully formulated President Trump's principles into the Vision for Peace offering the most realistic blueprint for peace in our region," the statement said.

"Kushner also contributed to President Trump's historic decisions to recognise Jerusalem, move the US Embassy to Israel's capital and recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights."

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The Trump administration's Vision for Peace plan was rejected by Palestinian leadership when it was unveiled earlier this year. 

The widely condemned "peace plan" awards Israel the Jordan Valley, illegally constructed settlements in the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

The proposed plan leaves Palestinians with a series of non-contiguous enclaves covering only 15 percent of historic Palestine and critics say it makes the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state impossible.

The Israeli government, led by PM Netanyahu, is expected to annex most of the Jordan Valley area and blocs of Israeli settlements in the West Bank by 1 July in violation of international law.

'The Room Where It Happened'

Bolton's upcoming book, which the White House has sued to block, also claims Donald Trump pleaded with China's leader Xi Jinping for help to win re-election in 2020.

In excerpts published by The Washington PostThe New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Bolton also claims Trump repeatedly showed a readiness to overlook Chinese rights abuses - most strikingly telling Xi the mass internment of Uighur Muslims was "exactly the right thing to do".

"I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn't driven by reelection calculations," Bolton writes of the real estate magnate turned president - who was impeached last December for seeking dirt from Ukraine on his 2020 election rival Joe Biden.

He also describes multiple episodes of behavior by Trump, including his intervention in cases involving major firms in China and Turkey, in which he appeared "to, in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked," according to the excerpts.

The book, "The Room Where It Happened," is due for release next Tuesday.

The bombshells come in the thick of a presidential election campaign against the Democratic former vice president Biden.

The conservative Bolton, himself a controversial figure in US politics, spent 17 turbulent months in the White House before resigning last September.

Several behind-the-scenes books by aides and journalists have emerged in recent years offering damning details about White House disarray or embarrassing Trump conduct, but Bolton is the highest-ranking official to write such a memoir.

Read more: The threat of Israeli annexation: The American dimension

It is also one of two such books to be published in the coming weeks.

The president's own niece, Mary Trump, releases her memoir, featuring the scathing title "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man," on July 28.

Trump filed a lawsuit to halt Bolton's book, and is reportedly threatening a suit against his niece. Constitutional experts told AFP that it would be highly unlikely for courts to block publication of the memoirs.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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