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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 11, 2017 PAGE 3A By Ben Sales NEWYORK (JTA)--IfJared Kushner is the only person who can deliver Middle East peace--as his father-in-law Donald Trump said--he comes off as a reluctant savior. In a speech delivered Mon- day to a group of congressional interns and leaked to the me- dia, Kushner expounded on the Trump administration's efforts to achieve Israeli-Pal- estinian peace. What emerged was an outlook that at once was resolutely pro-Israel and skeptical of the chances of Success. "So what do we offer that's unique? I don't know," Kush- ner said in his seven-minute answer to an intern's question in a recording obtained by Wired magazine "And we're trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there's a solution. And there may be no solution, but it's one of the problem sets that the presi- dent asked us to focus on." Kushner traveled to the region in June along with President Trump's chief ne- gotiator, Jason Greenblatt, to meet with Israeli and Pales- tinian stakeholders and suss out the chances of reaching a peace deal. It's among a bevy of issues that Kushner has taken on as a senior adviser to his father-in-law--includ- ing criminal justice reform, streamlining the federal government, stemming the opioid addiction crisis and more. In the speech, Kushner sounds unenthused to be handling the peace process. He opens his answer by saying "this is one of the ones I was asked to take on," and be- comes more pessimistic from there, criticizing Israeli and Palestinian leaders for being mired in history and unable to let go of minor provocations. "You know everyone finds an issue, that 'you have to under- stand what they did then,' and 'you have to understand that they did this,'" Kushner said. "But how does that help us get peace? Let's not focus on that. We don't want a history lesson. We've read enough books." He also made some ques- tionable claims. Kushner said that "not a whole lot has been accomplished over the last 40 or 50 years we've been doing this," apparently dismissing Israeli peace pacts with Egypt and Jordan, the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Ac- cords and Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. Then he said "the variables haven't been changed much"--something that both Israeli and Palestin- ian officials would fiercely dispute. Israelis charge that their withdrawals from ter- ritory have been met only with terror and incitement, while the Palestinians claim growing Israeli settlements are making a Palestinian state near impossible. Aaron David Miller, who worked on the peace process in Republican and Demo- cratic administrations, said he appreciated Kushner's skepticism while adding that his dismissal of history is misguided. "If you want to have any chance of doing anything on this issue, you have to see the world the way it is, not just the way you want it to be," Miller told JTA, adding later, "You do need a history lesson, big time, because if you don't know where you've been, you don't have a chance of figuring out where you're going" Kushner did boast how the Trump administration medi- ated an agreement to provide Palestinians with an increase of 32 million cubic meters of fresh water. He also praised his team for helping resolve Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Jared Kushner speaking at the gisenhower Executive Of- fice Building next door to the White House, June 19, 2017. the recent Temple Mount crisis that eruptedwhen three Arab-Israeli gunmen killed two Israeli police officers, and escalated when Israel set up metal detectors at the holy site revered by the Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Kushner on page 15A By Rafael Medoff JNS.org Palestinians are vowing to continue their efforts to pre- vent Jews from living in large parts of Jerusalem's Old City, despite a July 31 Israeli court ruling permitting a Jewish purchase of several proper- ties there. The ruling by Judge Gila Kanfi-Steinitz, deputy head of the Jerusalem District Court, capped a 13-year legal struggle over the purchase by Jewish investors of two Arab- run hotels and an unidentified third property, all owned by the Greek Orthodox Church and located in the area of the Old City known as the Chris- tian Quarter. The transaction was ar- ranged by Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli organization that facilitates the repopulation of parts of the Old City from which Jews were expelled by Arab attackers in the 1920s and 1930s. Kanfi-Steinitz ordered the church to pay Ateret Cohanim $8,420 for its legal expenses. After the sale was first publicized, in 2004, a senior Greek Orthodox church of- ficial involved in the transac- tion fled the country. Ateret Cohanim Executive Director Daniel Luria told JNS.org that w~ile he could not comment on the specific details of the hotels purchase, the Palestin- ian Authority "has circulated fatwas (Muslim religious rul- ings) against selling property to Jews," and Palestinian Au- thority (PA)-controlled media "constantly incite against such sales." The exact purchase price for the hotels has never been made public, but the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported in 2005 that the buyers paid "several million dollars." Luria said his organi- zation's efforts to acquire property in the Old City are "made difficult" by the fact that the PA security forces "arrest and torture Arabs who serve as middlemen" in such transactions. PA law imposes the death penalty on Arabs who sell land to Jews. PA representatives declined requests from JNS.org to com- ment on the Old City dispute. 'Resist Judaization' The Greek Orthodox Patri- archate announced Aug. 2 that ~ will file an ~l~eal to Israel's High Court against the district court's ruling. At the same time, the PA's Higher Commit- tee of Church Affairs declared that the court ruling is evidence of an Israeli conspiracy "to an- nex Palestinian land." The PA committee also claimed the judge's decision was connected to what it called Israel's "attack" on Jeru- salem's AI-Aqsa mosque--an apparent reference to Israel's brief use of metal detectors to prevent the smuggling of weapons into the Temple Mount compound. The com- mittee vowed to "continue acting to protect the mosques and churches of Jerusalem." Such efforts are aided by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which oversees a multimillion dollar "Al Quds Fund" to "maintain the Arab character of the City of Jerusalem and prevent and resist the Judaization policy pursued by Israeli occupation authorities." It helps finance latest court ruling, the New quarters a century ago, but Imperial Hotel and the Petra Arab rioters in the 1920s and Hotel, are situated just inside 1930s drove them out. Today the Jaffa Gate entrance to the there are "close to 1,000" Jews Old City. The 45-room New living in those sections, as Imperial was built in 1884. weIlasapproximately4,000in The 40-room Petra, built in the Old City's Jewish Quarter, the 1820s, describes itself as according to Luria ........ legal challenges to Jewish the oldest hotel in the city ~ Controversy erupted in ~i~e~l" estate purchases in Is- and claims its g~sts:hav~1990~when~AteretCo~ rael's capital, such as those included famed American arranged for the purchase by arranged by Ateret Cohanim. Palestinian advocacy groups view the fight over the hotels as just one small part of a broader struggle. "All of Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory," the California-based Free Pal- estine Movement said in a statement provided to JNS. org. Asked if it would be jus- tified for Palestinians to use force to prevent Israeli Jews from residing in parts of the Old City, a movement spokes- person replied, "International law permits armed resistance against occupation and ethnic cleansing." Mark Twain slept there The two properties in the authors Mark Twain and Herman Melville. Ateret Co- hanim's Luria declined to say whether the new owners will continue to operate them as hotels, or convert them into residential buildings. The British authorities in Mandatory Palestine be- gan using the designations "Christian Quarter," "Muslim Quarter," "Jewish Quarter" and "Armenian Quarter" in the 1930s for the sake of ad- ministrative convenience, not because the terms reflected the actual ethnic composition of the neighborhoods. There were substantial Jewish communities in the "Christian" and "Muslim" Jewish philanthropists of St. John's Hospice, an Armenian- owned 72-room building in tl~e Christian Quarter. But the purchase withstood various legal challenges, and the building, known as Neot David, has for many years housed some 80 Jewish resi- dents as well as a yeshiva with 60 students. "As the indigenous people of this Jewish homeland, we have the moral, historical and natural right to live in peace. side by side with tolerance- accepting Christians and Muslims, in any and every neighborhood of Jerusalem," said Luria. "No amount of hatred or terror will deter us." on Tisha By World Israel News More than 1,000 Jews braved a searing heat wave Tuesday morning to visit the Temple Mount on Tisha b'Av, the saddest date on the Hebrew calendar, while thousands more sat on the floor--a traditional Jewish sign of mourning--at the Western Wall Plaza to com- memorate the destruction of ancient Jerusalem by the Roman Empire in the year 70 CE. More visitors were expected throughout the day. One person, a 15-year-old boy, was lightly wounded when a Muslim worshiper threw a chair at him. He was given first aid by security officials and did not require further treatment. The man was not arrested. In addition, six people were ejected for violating the rules and four people were arrested when a fight broke out adjacent to the Chain Gate between three Jews and an Arab man as the group left the Mount. Throughout the morning, hundreds of people stood in line adjacent to the Mu- ghrabi Gate, the only en- trance to the Temple Mount for non-Muslims, to visit the site. There are 11 entrances for Muslims only. Jewish Visitors Undergo Intensive Security Entering the ramp leading to the Mount, Jewish visitors passed through metal detec- tors and thorough security checks to ensure no forbid- den items, including prayer books, religious items and Israeli flags, made it up to the Mount. Officers briefed visitors on visitation rules, including prohibitions on praying and bowing down. Jewish visitors were also re- quired to leave identification at the checkpoint. To accommodate the un- precedented number of Jewish visitors, police allowed large groups to enter the site, a practice they usually frowned upon, and eventually limited the visitors' presence on the Mount to an abbreviated route. The event, the largest visit by Jews to the Temple Mount in years, comes on the heels of weeks of tension surrounding the holy site that began July 14, when three Arab-Israeli terror- ists murdered two Druze Israeli policemen at the compound, leading Israel to install metal detectors and security cameras for the Muslim worshipers. This Yonatan Sinde|/Flash90 Jewish men pray as they gather for the ritual of Tisha B'Av at the Western Wall (KoteD in the Old City of Jerusalem, on July 31, 2017. was followed by massive Muslim protests outside the site and a 12-day standoff, during which a Palestinian terrorist slaughtered three members of a Jewish family in Samaria, among other acts of violence and terror. "Unbelievable! Over 1,000 Jews so far have ascended the Temple Mount... This number is unprecedented! Times are changing," exclaimed activ- ist Joshua Wander, one of the visitors.