Published: Mon, May 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

USA to roll out economic part of Mideast peace plan

USA to roll out economic part of Mideast peace plan

The White House will unveil the first part of President Donald Trump's long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan when it holds an worldwide conference in Bahrain in late June to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, senior US officials said on Sunday.

"'Peace to Prosperity' will facilitate discussions on an ambitious, achievable vision and framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region, including enhancements to economic governance, development of human capital, and facilitation of rapid private-sector growth", the White House said.

USA officials, while briefing reporters, declined to provide any specific details about the political portion of the plan, but said this will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

"The Palestinian people, along with all people in the Middle East, deserve a future with dignity and the opportunity to better their lives", President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said in a statement.

The White House has been working on what US President Donald Trump called the "deal of the century" to solve the decades-long conflict.

The Trump administration chose to roll out the economic and political parts of the plan separately, the official said, and there would be no discussion of the political aspects of the plan at the coming workshop.

The decision on whether or not Palestinians would attend the workshop would be made by the leadership of Abbas, Abu Rudeineh said, adding that when a similar meeting was held in Washington in March 2018 to discuss ways of improving the economic and humanitarian situation facing Gazans, the Palestinians had chosen to stay away. Palestinian Authority officials, who have complained that White House favors Israel, severed ties with the Trump administration following several actions targeting them.

U.S. officials had said earlier the peace plan would be rolled out after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends in early June. Kushner is said to have modeled details of the economic proposal on what has worked in Poland, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

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Kushner spoke about the deal earlier this month and said he aims to open up a line of communication between Israelis and Palestinians.

"Palestinians will not accept any proposals which do not include a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital", he said.

The plan envisions large-scale investment and infrastructure work in the Palestinian territories.

USA officials have predicted that the event will include representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as some finance ministers.

Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian diplomat and negotiator, said: "All efforts to make the oppressor and the oppressed coexist are doomed to fail ..." Ramallah refuses to engage with the White House after it recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocated the embassy from Tel Aviv - ending decades of USA policy that the final status of the city would be agreed through peace talks. The US stopped funding the United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees, slashing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for projects in the West Bank and Gaza and cutting funding to hospitals in Jerusalem that serve Palestinians.

The Trump administration has sought to enlist support from Arab governments.

The Palestinians have boycotted the U.S. administration since President Donald Trump broke with decades of consensus and recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017.

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