US launches economic formula for ME peace | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 26, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:36 AM, June 26, 2019

US launches economic formula for ME peace

Palestinians unhappy as plan avoids political solution

The Trump administration launched a $50 billion economic formula for Israeli-Palestinian peace yesterday, saying an investment-driven pathway forward for the Palestinians was a necessary precondition for ending the decades-old conflict.

Opening a two-day international meeting in the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner said prosperity for Palestinians was not possible without a fair political solution to the conflict.

But he added that by working to develop the Palestinian economy, the result could be “a real peace that leads to prosperity”.

“We see tremendous potential,” he said. “What we have developed, is the most comprehensive economic plan ever created specifically for the Palestinians, and the broader Middle East.”

The meeting has been billed as the first part of Washington’s broader political blueprint to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the project’s political details remain a secret. Neither the Israeli nor Palestinian governments are attending the curtain-raising event in Manama, which Lebanon and Iraq are staying away from.

“Money is important. The economy is important. But politics are more important. The political solution is more important,” said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Kushner appeared to acknowledge such views, suggesting the politics of the conflict needed more time to address.

Saudi Arabia supported the economic plan. But Riyadh reiterated that any peace deal should be based on the Saudi-led Arab peace initiative that has been the Arab consensus on the necessary elements for a deal since 2002.

That plan calls for a Palestinian state drawn along borders which predate Israel’s capture of territory in the 1967 Middle East war, as well as a capital in East Jerusalem and refugees’ right of return - points rejected by Israel. The UN and most nations back the two-state solution and it has underpinned every peace plan for decades.

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