Kushner defends Israeli metal detectors at Jerusalem holy site

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In leaked audio of meeting, Kushner says that metal detectors at Noble Sanctuary were 'seemingly logical'

Kushner staunchly supports Israel and is family friends with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Reuters)
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Wednesday 2 August 2017 7:34 UTC
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President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief Middle East envoy, Jared Kushner, expressed support for Israel’s metal detectors at Lion’s Gate during an off-the-record meeting with congressional interns that was leaked on Tuesday.

Kushner said in a long and convoluted answer that metal detectors in front of the Noble Sanctuary compound were “seemingly logical”.

“I don't know if everyone is familiar, but there were two people—two Israeli guards killed at the Temple Mount (and that's the first time in many, many, many years that that happened, so Israelis [unintelligible] putting up metal detectors on the Temple Mount, which is not an irrational thing to do.”

Kushner also appeared to express frustration at the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis, saying that “we’ve read enough books” on the conflict, adding “how does that help us get peace?”

“What do we offer that's unique? I don’t know … I’m sure everyone that’s tried this has been unique in some ways, but again we’re trying to follow very logically. We're thinking about what the right end state is, and we’re trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there's a solution. And there may be no solution, but it’s one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on,” he said.

Kushner is a staunch supporter of Israel and is a family friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Kushner in June, a Palestinian official said that Trump’s son-in-law "sounded like Netanyahu's advisers and not like fair arbiters".

Trump has described peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians as "the ultimate deal" and made it a priority since taking office. As well as receiving both Netanyahu and Abbas in the White House, he visited the region last month.

But it remains unclear what approach Trump, via Kushner, plans to take on resolving one of the world's most intractable conflicts.

Prior to his White House appointment, Kushner was the CEO of Kushner Companies and publisher of the right-leaning news website the New York Observer, which ran a widely shared story of a recording where Hillary Clinton says the US should have “done something” about the Palestinian elections in 2006 to make sure that Hamas did not win.

Trump has said his son-in-law, a Jewish American, assisted him with his address to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) earlier this year.