In Bahrain, Kushner pushes economic plan for Mideast peace

25 Juin, 2019, 22:53 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Rabbi Marc Schneier in Manama Bahrain

The conference aims to address the $50 billion Middle East economic plan, which hopes to set up a global investment fund to "lift the Palestinian and Arab state economies" and construct a $5 billion transportation corridor that would connect the West Bank with Gaza. "What we have developed, is the most comprehensive economic plan ever created specifically for the Palestinians, and the broader Middle East".

"We can turn this region from a victim of past conflicts, into a model for commerce and advancement throughout the world". Neither the Israeli nor Palestinian governments were attending the curtain-raising event in Manama.

"It is rather hard to talk about economic investment and development when you don't have the underlying political and legal frameworks actually established to make all these other development plans workable", she said. "It's not that much", Schwarzman said at an economic summit in Bahrain to encourage investment in the Palestinian Territories.

"Money is important. The economy is important".

Saudi Arabia - a close USA ally which shares a common foe with Israel in Iran - voiced support on Tuesday for "international efforts aimed at improving prosperity, investment and economic growth in the region".

But in an interview with Al Jazeera shortly before his departure for Bahrain, Kushner said the Arab Peace Initiative was no basis for the US's Middle East peace plan.

Over the past two days, Palestinians in the occupied territories have protested against the US-led Middle East peace plan. He added, "It will be somewhere between the Arab Peace Initiative and between the Israeli position". "The political solution is more important", PA President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close Trump ally, said Israel was open to the plan.

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"If there is a one percent chance we do something good here, we should get together and try", billionaire Mohamed Alabbar, one of Dubai's most prominent businessmen, said after arriving at the venue in Manama and embracing two American rabbis.

Expectations for success are low. Jordan and Egypt, the only Arab states to have reached peace with Israel, have sent deputy finance ministers. "The "Peace to Prosperity" plan is a framework for a brighter, more prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region and a vision of what is possible if there is peace".

The United Nations and most nations back the two-state solution and it has underpinned every peace plan for decades.

In Gaza, businesses closed doors in a general strike called by the ruling Islamist Hamas group and other factions.

In the West Bank on the outskirts of Ramallah, where a small crowd of protesters was dispersed by Israeli troops firing tear gas, Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti said: "There can be no economic solution as a substitute for our freedom".

Palestinian leaders, who have refused to engage with the Trump administration accusing it of being the most biased towards Israel in U.S. history, have also been scathing about its prospects of success.

Trump has taken an unapologetically pro-Israel line during his presidency, with moves including his controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in late 2017.

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