JERUSALEM, Israel – In yet another infamous Washington leak, White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner was quoted in an off-the-record discussion as saying "there may be no solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Kushner spoke with a group of congressional interns Monday in what was supposed to be an informal chat in a summer lecture series. Someone in the gathering defied warnings not to record the session and sent audio recordings to WIRED magazine.
Kushner told the interns that his first order of business as advisor was to study the "historical context" of the situation.
"And what I determined from looking at it is that not a whole lot has been accomplished over the past 40 or 50 years we've been doing this," Kushner said, adding that "the variables" haven't changed much.
He spoke with a lot of people who have been part of the Israel-Palestinian "peace process" to understand why no one has succeeded in moving it along and learned, "This is a very emotionally charged situation."
Kushner also spoke about the recent Temple Mount crisis that followed the installation of metal detectors and surveillance cameras for Muslim visitors entering the site.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the upgraded security measures following the July 14 terror attack that took the lives of two police officers and wounded a third. Kushner said despite the decision to remove the security apparatus, the Israeli press beat Netanyahu up "because that was very politically unpopular for him to do."
Before Kushner's remarks, the congressional interns received a strong caution from House Deputy Staff Director Katie Patru.
"To record today's session would be such a breach of trust in my opinion. This town is full of leakers, and everyone knows who they are and no one trusts them," Patru said.
Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh praised Kushner's remarks, while decrying the leak. He called Washington's role during decades of negotiations "a giant phony exercise."
"We've got scholars and think tanks. We've got experts on Middle East peace. Whenever a mortar is launched in the Middle East, they're brought out on television to analyze what it means and what's going on. We don't need any of that. We know that it's a never-ending conflict," Limbaugh said. He added that diplomacy won't end the conflict, and it will end only when one side wins.