Speed Reads

conflicts of interest

Jared Kushner needs to call his charity

Jared Kushner is leading the White House effort to achieve peace in the Middle East, but he's apparently also funding one of the biggest obstacles to reaching that goal: Israeli settlements.

ProPublica reported Wednesday that Kushner's charity, the Kusher Companies Charitable Fund, donated $18,000 to a group that funds West Bank settlements — while he's spent the year working on the Middle Eastern peace process. Israel's settlements in the West Bank are an integral source of the region's conflict because they are built on land included in the Palestinian territories that has been militarily occupied by Israel.

Bet El Yeshiva Center specifically funds the construction of the Bet El settlement, which is one of the most controversial constructions. Bet El was built in 1977 by Israeli settlers on private Palestinian land seized by the Israeli government, and it is located on a hillside near the Palestinian city of Ramallah — which serves as the administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority.

Last December, Haaretz reported that the Kushner family had given thousands of dollars to Bet El Yeshiva Center. But ProPublica's discovery is the first such donation to take place while Kusher was helming U.S. peace efforts in the region.

Arab leaders as well as the U.N. have repeatedly warned that continued Israeli settlement-building is a major obstacle to a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine; late last year, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution 14-0 condemning the settlements, a vote from which the U.S. abstained. Additionally, President Trump's announcement Wednesday that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is expected to spark possibly violent demonstrations in the region.