A closed conversation conducted by President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and leaked to an American website, reveals both the extent of US involvement in the Temple Mount crisis and a flagrant disregard for ethics in Washington.
Prior to Kushner's talk, Katie Patru, the deputy staff director for Member Services, Outreach & Communications, told the assembled interns, "To record today’s session would be such a breach of trust, from my opinion. This town is full of leakers and everyone knows who they are, and no one trusts them. In this business your reputation is everything, I’ve been on The Hill for 15 years. I’ve sat in countless meetings with members of congress where important decisions were being made. During all those years in all those meetings, I never once leaked to a reporter. …. If someone in your office has asked you to break our protocol and give you a recording so they can leak it, as a manager, that bothers me at my core."
Nevertheless, Wired carried the full transcript of the briefing, which was subsequently carried all over the world. Kushner said:
"So as tensions were really mounting, 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. You know when you have—police officers were just killed, and weapons that were used to [unintelligible] the weapons to check them—so then what happens is they start inciting it."
"They say look, you know, this is a change to the status quo. The Temple Mount is a [unintelligible] occupation of Israel, and Israel was saying we don’t want anything to do with that, we just want to make sure people are safe. And that really incited a lot of tension in the streets.
"So we're going to work with them [unintelligible] to take down the metal detectors there, and then I think one of the Palestinians' religious leaders was saying, 'If you go through the metal detectors, then your prayers don’t count.' And that is not a very helpful thing to have said. And then there was a lot of rage. And there was an Israeli family that three people killed in their home, which was absolutely terrible. You know, so, 'I'm going to do this to free the Temple Mount.'"
He described how the Americans worked to reconcile the two sides: "So ultimately we were able to work with them, and we were able to get the Israelis to take down the different forms of surveillance that the Jordanians were okay with, and we talked with the Palestinians the whole time to try to get their viewpoint on it."
"We spoke with everyone and succeeded in getting Israel to remove the same means of inspection - a move that was done with the consent of Jordan and with constant updating of the Palestinians."
Kushner expressed his appreciation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "He has received quite a bit of criticism from the Israeli media, and this is a step that was not popular in his political camp - and yet he took it."
He said that contacts with the Israeli diplomats in Amman after the shooting incident were quick and succeeded in overcoming civilian attempts to pressure the Jordanian regime.
During the conversation that was leaked, Kushner said that there may be no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition to expressing skepticism toward finding a "unique" solution to the Middle East, Kushner lamented that "not a whole lot has been accomplished over the last 40 or 50 years."