Ivanka Trump and Jared Kouchner, senior White House advisors, go to Air Force One before leaving with US President Donald Trump and the first lady Melania Trump of the Andrews Joint Base in Maryland, October 30, 2018
Saul Lob | AFP | The White House presented a $ 50 billion Middle East plan on Saturday to create a global investment fund to lift Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies and fund a $ 5 billion transport corridor linking the West Bank and Gaza. The "Peace of Prosperity" plan, to be presented by senior White House Adviser Jared Kouchner at an international conference in Bahrain next week, includes 1
An ambitious plan for economic revival, a two-year product of Kouchner's work and other aides, will only be implemented if a long-term problem of the region is achieved politically
More than half of the 50 billion dollars will be spent in the economically troubled Palestinian territories for 10 years, and the rest will be divided between Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. Some of the projects will be on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, where investments can be beneficial to Palestinians living in neighboring Gaza, a crowded and impoverished coastal enclave.
The plan also offers nearly a billion dollars to build the Palestinian tourist sector, a seemingly impractical idea now, given the frequent clashes between Israeli forces and militants from Hamas-run Gaza and weak security in the Occupied West Bank.
Palestinians Discard Kouchner's Approach to First-Peace Economy in the Middle East Factbox: The US Palestinian Economy Plan provides for a $ 50 billion investment. See more stories Trump's administration hopes that the rich Gulf states and nations in Europe and Asia, as well as private investors will pay much of the bill, Kouchner told Reuters.
"The whole idea here is that we want people to agree on the plan, and then we'll have a discussion with people to see who cares what they could do," Kouchner told Reuters Television.
The disclosure of an economic plan follows two years of debate and delays in introducing a wider peace plan between Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinians who boycott the event refused to talk to the Trump administration as they recognized Jerusalem as an Israeli capital at the end of 2017
The veteran Palestinian negotiator, Hanan Ashravi, rejected the suggestions on Saturday, saying, "These are all intentions all abstract promises "and said that only a political solution would solve the conflict.
Kouchner clarified in two interviews with Reuters that he sees his detailed formula as a toy that changes the game, despite the views of many Middle East experts, has little chance of success when decades of US-backed peace efforts failed.
"I laugh when they attack you as a" deal of the century, "" said Kouchner to the Palestinian leaders who rejected his plan as an attempt to buy their aspirations for statehood. "It will be" The Possibility of the Century "if they have the courage to follow it."
Kouchner said some Palestinian businessmen had confirmed their attendance at the conference, but he refused to identify them. The overwhelming majority of the Palestinian business community will not be present, said businessmen from the West Bank Ramallah.
Several Arab Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, will also participate in US-led meetings in Bahrain. the capital, Manama, for the implementation of the first phase of the Trump peace plan. Their presence, according to some US officials, is part of the intention to prepare for Trump as he has taken a hard line against Iran, the regional enemy of these countries. The Palestinian Authority will not be there, instead of doing a small Israeli business delegation.
There are serious doubts about whether potential donor governments will be willing to open their checkbooks, as long as they are tortuous, the political disputes underlying the decades of Palestinian conflict remain unresolved. Kushner, 38, who, as his father came to the government sinking into the world of real estate deals in New York, seems to treat peacekeeping somehow as a business deal, analysts and former US officials say.
Palestinian officials are rejecting the overall US-led peacekeeping force as heavily inclined in favor of Israel and will probably deny their own sovereign state.
Kouchner's attempt to resolve the priorities of economic priorities first while he lags behind politics ignores the realities of the conflict, many experts say.
"This is entirely beyond consistency because the Israeli-Palestinian question is mainly due to historical wounds and overlapping claims for land and sacred space," said Aaron David Miller, a former negotiator for the Republican and Democratic Administration. that "you can not push the economic plan forward without resolving political issues." The administration, he said, will "take up this later", referring to the second stage of the implementation of the peace plan, which is now expected not earlier than November.
Kushner says his approach is aimed at identifying economic incentives to show the Palestinians have the potential for a prosperous future if they return to the peace negotiating table
Kushner stressed that governments would not expects to make financial promises on the spot.
"It is a small victory that they all appear to listen and participate." In the old days, the Palestinian leaders would talk and no one would obey, "he said.
The new investment fund proposed by Kouchner for the Palestinians and neighboring countries will be managed by a "multilateral development bank". Global financial creditors, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, plan to attend the meeting
The fund will include "accountability, transparency, anti-corruption and safeguards against conditions" to protect investment.
to build a Palestinian travel corridor to cross Israel to connect the West Bank and Gaza. It may include a highway and, possibly, a railway line. The closest distance between the territories whose population has long been divided by Israeli travel restrictions is about 40 km. Kouchner said that if it is implemented, the plan will create a million jobs in the West Bank and Gaza halves Palestinian poverty by half and doubles the Palestinian GDP.
But most foreign investors are likely to remain clear for the time being, not just because of security and corruption, but also because of the Palestinian economy of western Israel. Banking occupation, which hinders the flow of people, goods and services, experts say. Kushner sees his economic approach as a Marshall Plan that Washington introduced in 1948 to restore Western Europe from the devastation of World War II. Unlike the US-funded Marshall Plan, however, the latest initiative will put much of the financial burden on other countries.
President Donald Trump "will consider making a big investment in it" if there is a good management mechanism, Kouchner said. But he does not engage in how much the president, who has often opposed foreign aid, could contribute.
Economic programs have been previously tested in the long run by the US-led peacekeeping efforts, but only because of the lack of political progress. However, Kouchner's approach may be the most detailed so far presented in two 40- and 96-page brochures that are full of financial tables and economic forecasts.
In Manama, the still unpublished political part of the plan
Economic documents do not offer any development projects in the mainly Arab East of Jerusalem that the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state. What Kushner hopes, however, is that Saudis and other Gulf delegates will like what they hear enough to call on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to consider the plan.
The message that Kouchner wants them to take in Ramallah: to make a deal to improve the lives of the Palestinian people. "