COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s The former White House adviser and his son-in-law praised the “very valuable” potential of Gaza’s “water estate” and suggested that Israel should remove civilians while it “cleans up” the area.

“Gaza’s waterfront property could be very valuable if people focused on building their livelihoods,” Kushner said an interview from February 15th, posted earlier this month on the YouTube channel of the Middle East Initiative, a program of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and first reported by The Guardian on Tuesday. “When you think about all the money that went into this network of tunnels and all the munitions, if that money had gone into education or innovation, what could have been done?”

“It’s a bit of an unfortunate situation there, but I think from an Israeli perspective I would do my best to get people out and then clean up,” Kushner added. “But I don’t think Israel has stated that it doesn’t want people to return there afterward.”

Kushner responded Tuesday to calls for accountability from her leadership.”

About 1.5 million displaced Palestinians are seeking refuge in the southern Gaza town of Rafah as Israel seeks to eliminate Hamas after the militant group defeated it fatal attack on October 7th. More than 30,000 Palestinians were killed and over 70,000 wounded in Gaza since Israel’s war against Hamas began.

On Monday the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to send a team of Israeli officials to Washington to discuss a possible Rafah operation with Biden administration officials.

The agreement to hold such discussions was reached President Joe Biden And Netanyahu According to the White House, they spoke on Monday, their first interaction in more than a month, as the rift between allies has widened over the food crisis in Gaza and Israel’s behavior during the war. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the talks would take place in the coming days and were expected to include military, intelligence and humanitarian experts.

In the interview last month, Kushner also suggested that “with the right diplomacy” it might be possible to get civilians out of Rafah and possibly into Egypt, and also suggested a plan for the Negev Desert in southern Israel.

Additionally, Kushner suggested that if he “just razed something in the Negev, I would try to get people there,” adding, “I know that’s not going to be the popular course of action, but I think “That’s a better option so you can go in and finish the job.”

“I think Israel has done much more than many other countries to try to protect civilians from casualties,” Kushner added.

The debate about the Israel-Hamas war has emerged as a major theme in this year’s US presidential election, drawing dividing lines between Biden and Trump and within their own parties.

Asked in an interview Monday about Democrats’ growing criticism of Netanyahu over his handling of the war in Gaza, Trump has brought charges that Jews who vote for Democrats hate “Israel” and “their religion,” sparking a firestorm of criticism from the White House and Jewish leaders.

On Tuesday, he escalated those comments, telling reporters in Florida that “Democrats have been very, very hostile to the Jewish people.” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., meanwhile, gave a speech on the Senate floor in which he called Trump’s comments “absolutely disgusting and a textbook example of the type of anti-Semitism that Jews face.”

Kushner worked in the Trump administration on a variety of issues and policies, including peace efforts in the Middle East. Noting that he is not interested in returning to the White House if Trump – who was named the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee last week – wins the 2024 presidential election, Kushner said last month that he was focusing on his investment business and the Living with his family in Florida has focused on the public.

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Meg Kinnard can be reached at

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