Jared Kushner's Middle East Plan Slammed by Former Clinton, Bush Negotiator: 'Expectations Are Extremely Low'

As President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner prepares to pitch his Middle East peace plan, a former top negotiator in the matter under Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton says "expectations are extremely low."

Kushner will discuss the plan with U.S. and Middle East government officials and business people from around the world at the "Peace to Prosperity" conference in Bahrain on Tuesday. The Kushner-led White House plan seeks to stimulate Palestine's economy with $50 billion, contingent on a peace agreement with Israel, but American officials have reportedly been unwilling to discuss the politics of that.

As a result, there are low expectations the plan will succeed, according to Ambassador Dennis Ross, who was a top Middle East peace talks negotiator under Bush and Clinton.

"Right now the expectations are extremely low," Ross told CNN in a report published Monday. "The good news with low expectations is it's not that hard to exceed them."

Ross said the White House should offer immediate investments to boost Palestine's economy, but a senior administration official said a short-term economic plan is not in the works.

"What you're offering is a vision for the future, but who's going to believe in that vision for the future when they don't see anything being done practically that sets the stage for it?" Ross said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Newsweek on Monday.

Don’t Dismiss the Bahrain Conference. It Can Help Palestinians. – Foreign Policy But it depends on focusing first on near-term stabilization measures/projects in Gaza and the West Bank not on the 10 year plan for development. https://t.co/cHmI6mOEXq

— Dennis Ross (@AmbDennisRoss) June 19, 2019

Most former peace plan negotiators share Ross's view that Kushner's plan takes the wrong approach and is worse for Israeli-Palestinian relations because it does not offer a two-state solution with independent states of Israel and Palestine, which the U.S. has long advocated for.

"Yeah, doing something different — but it has to make sense what you're doing," Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street which is advocating for a two-state solution, told CNN. "I don't think anybody who's been involved with this will say what we did worked ... but that doesn't mean that this is the right approach."

Kushner at the TIME 100 Summit in April said the two-state solution approach "failed" and that he and his team were putting out something "different."

"We've taken what I think is an unconventional approach. We've studied the past efforts and how they failed and why they failed," Kushner said. "If people focus on the old traditional talking points, we're never going to make progress."

Kushner continued of past efforts: "Normally they start with a process and then hope that the process leads to a resolution for something to happen. What we've done is the opposite."

Jared Kushner Middle East Plan
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner attends the conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, on February 14, 2019. "Expectations are extremely low" for Kushner's Middle East peace plan, Ambassador Dennis Ross said. JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images