Jared Kushner Calls Palestinian Leadership Stupid, Suggests Refugees Should Stay Where They Are

President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has said that the Trump administration will be announcing new steps next week on how it plans to move the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan forward.

Kushner announced the plans during a conference call with journalists following up on the "Peace to Prosperity" conference he convened in Bahrain's capital, Manama, last week.

During the call, Trump's son-in-law took the opportunity to criticize Palestinian leadership over its refusal to participate in the conference, calling the decision "hysterical and stupid," according to an account published by Axios.

Kushner said Palestinian leaders were making a "strategic mistake" by choosing not to participate and discuss a plan which he stressed was focused on creating prosperity for Palestinians.

However, he said "the door is always open for the Palestinian leadership," adding: "If they stop saying crazy things and engage, they will see there is an opportunity here. We respect President Abbas and we believe he wants to make peace, and we want to give him the opportunity to try and do it."

While at the "Peace to Prosperity" conference, the Trump administration focused on laying out the economic part of the peace plan, the rest of the world, as Axios noted, has been waiting to find out what the political side of the initiative might look like.

"We will be announcing probably next week what our next steps will be and we will keep pushing forward. We want to take the feedback on the economic plan, incorporate it, finalize it," Kushner said, according to CNN.

While the president's senior adviser remained tight-lipped on what the political plan might be, he did appear to suggest that displaced Palestinian refugees could be better "absorbed" by the countries they are living in.

Drawing a comparison between Jewish refugees and Palestinian refugees, Kushner said that whereas Jewish refugees have been "absorbed by different places," the "Arab world had not absorbed a lot of these (Palestinian) refugees over time."

Asked about Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, where they are for the most-part denied access to citizenship, Kushner said that Palestinians living in refugee camps there would like to see a "pathway for them to have more rights and live a better life."

"People in Lebanon would love to see a resolution to (the refugee) issue that is fair," he said.

Palestinians have been clear on what they believe their fate should be: All those who have fled or have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as their descendants, should have a right to return—a claim that Israel has repeatedly rejected.

Jared Kushner
Senior adviser to the President of the United States, Jared Kushner, stands on stage at the TIME 100 Summit on April 23, 2019 in New York City. Kushner has said the U.S. will announce new steps in furthering the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan next week. Spencer Platt/Getty