US Launches Economic Formula For Middle East Peace, Palestinians Unhappy
US Launches Economic Formula For Middle East Peace, Palestinians Unhappy
Palestinians Resist Kushner's Middle East Workshop as Business Leaders Gather in Bahrain
27 June, 2019, 17:53
White House adviser Jared Kushner on Thursday hailed the US-led economic workshop in Bahrain as a "tremendous success", as he made another appeal for the Palestinians to consider Washington's $50 billion economic stimulus plan.
Palestinians burn a picture of US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and representations of Israeli flags during a protest against Bahrain's workshop for US Middle East peace plan, in Gaza City, June 25, 2019. "I think that if you go into his statement, it was, you know, in a different way".
"I think if we take this matter seriously it could be a very important game-changer", Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa told Israeli public broadcaster Kan, in English.
Israel still occupies much of the West Bank, as a weak Palestinian government stumbles on amid economic crisis. Asked if that move might hurt the chances of peace, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Jake Tapper in April, "I think that the vision that we'll lay out is going to represent a significant change from the model that's been used". "The Palestinian people would like to be independent and we are sure that this will lead to the development of the Palestinian economy".
"It is a strategic mistake taken by the American administration.without talking to us nothing will be solved and [the Trump Administration] should understand very well that an economic solution without a political horizon is leading to more wars in the Middle East", Abu Rudeineh told Fox News.
Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser, is leading the "Peace to Prosperity" initiative which he called the "Opportunity of the Century" for the Palestinians.
Kushner said the initiative, which was backed by previous United States administrations, was a good starting point, but had been met with rejection from both sides.
The Palestinian Authority boycotted the "Peace to Prosperity" workshop, accusing the unabashedly pro-Israel Trump of dangling the prospect of cash to try to impose political solutions and ignoring a fundamental issue of Israeli occupation. But in the interview, Kushner said that traditional diplomacy has failed to resolve the conflict, and that it was time for the business community to offer other solutions.
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The United States has hailed the workshop as bringing together the Israelis with Gulf Arabs due to their mutual hostility towards Iran.
Kushner said on Monday the plan would not adhere to the Arab initiative.
Any solution must settle long-standing issues such as the status of Jerusalem, mutually agreed borders, Israel's security concerns, Palestinian demands for statehood, and the fate of Israel's settlements and military presence in a territory where Palestinians want to build that state. The Palestinian leadership has snubbed both the summit and the economic portion of the peace plan unveiled by the White House. Breaking with the global consensus, Trump in 2017 recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, infuriating the Palestinians and other Arabs.
"This plan is not political, so I think all those who criticize the plan for this reason do not realize the objective of this economic effort", he said. The brochure itself makes no reference whatsoever of the occupation, turning Gaza and the West bank into a blank fantasy land ready for transformation into the next Dubai or Singapore.
The Trump administration has carried out a policy of systematic attacks on the Palestinians and support for Israeli repression. "Not Trump, neither the Zionists can erase any right of the Palestinian people".
"This money must not come at the expense of our enduring rights, or at the expense of Jerusalem or the right of return or at the expense of sovereignty and resistance".
Meanwhile, Palestinians protested the plan in the streets of the West Bank, Gaza and elsewhere.
In Gaza, Hamas and its rival Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas convened a gathering of leaders and activists in a rare show of unity to voice their rejection of the Manama conference. Some of the protesters were fired on by Israeli troops.
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