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"Axios on HBO" asked Jared Kushner, who hasn't had official talks with the Palestinian leadership in more than a year, whether he understands why the Palestinians don't trust him. (Since taking office, President Trump has moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, slashed all U.S. aid to the Palestinians and shuttered the Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington.)

Kushner replied: "I'm not here to be trusted" and that he thinks the Palestinian people — if not their leaders — will not "judge anything based on trusting me," but instead will judge the Trump peace plan "based on the facts and then make a determination: Do they think this will allow them to have a pathway to a better life or not?"

Why it matters: Kushner's critics say he has been dismissive of the Palestinians' political aspirations — to have their own state with a capital in East Jerusalem — and that he's instead trying to buy them off with the promise of tens of billions of dollars of new investment in the Palestinian territories.

  • Kushner responded by arguing that the Palestinian people want different things than the Palestinian leaders.
  • When I asked Kushner whether the Palestinians deserve their own independent sovereign state with the capital in East Jerusalem, he replied: "There's a difference between the technocrats and ... the people." While "the technocrats are focused on very technocratic things" (translation: Palestinian statehood), "when I speak to Palestinian people, what they want is they want the opportunity to live a better life. They want the opportunity to pay their mortgage."
  • Asked how he knows what the Palestinian people want given he's "not exactly walking on the streets of Ramallah every day," Kushner implied he's having lots of private conversations with regular Palestinians that people don't know about.
  • Watch the clip.

Behind the scenes: Given his commitment to secrecy, interviewing Kushner is a challenge. When I pressed him on what to expect next on the two big signature policies he's leading — the Middle East peace plan and the White House's immigration proposal — he was determined to say nothing newsworthy.

The more illuminating parts of the interview were when I asked him to set aside the details of his policy plans, which he refuses to disclose, and instead explain what he believes.

  • Does he think the Palestinian people are capable of governing themselves without Israeli military and governmental interference? Does he think the Palestinian people deserve their own state with a capital in East Jerusalem? How does he reconcile his family history as refugees with the Trump administration slashing refugee numbers — his answers were more revealing than anything he said when I pressed him for fresh details about the policies he's working on.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
3 mins ago - Health

When vaccine hesitancy becomes political

Data: CDC and New York Times; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The counties with the most vaccine-hesitant residents generally also voted for Donald Trump in 2020 by large margins, whereas the counties with the lowest levels of hesitancy generally also had fewer Trump voters.

Why it matters: Your politics don't have anything to do with whether you're vulnerable to the coronavirus if you remain unvaccinated.

18 mins ago - Technology

States court tech money even as they bash companies

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Some of the country's fastest-growing states are publicly attacking the tech industry's business practices on one hand while courting its investment on the other.

Why it matters: Attracting technology companies is a holy grail for economic development because they bring high-paying jobs and prestige to aspiring tech hubs. But that project is now colliding with some state leaders' efforts to rein in tech companies' growing power.

Minnesota governor denounces alleged police violence against media

Law enforcement officers pepper spray freelance photographer Tim Evans (L) as he identifies himself a working journalist outside the Brooklyn Center police station on Friday. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Gov. Tim Walz (D) spoke out Sunday over allegations that journalists covering unrest in the Twin Cities suburb of Brooklyn Center have endured police violence, telling CBS Minnesota: "Apologies are not enough, it just cannot happen."

Why it matters: Since violations of press freedoms came to national attention last year, with reports of journalists being arrested and assaulted while covering anti-racism protests, violent encounters with law enforcement seem to have become the norm.