The US-led economic workshop on Israel-Palestinian conflict closed in Manama, Bahrain amid rejection from the Palestinian authorities on Wednesday. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian officials were present in the workshop. The Palestinians claim that the economic plan does not fill their political aspirations for statehood.
The two-day workshop that began on Tuesday was led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, an orthodox Jew, who was the architect of the deal, termed it could be the “opportunity of the century” for Palestinians. He also urged Palestinian leaders to think outside the “traditional box”, and consider the $50 billion for the economic wellbeing of Palestine and the neighboring Arab countries.
The workshop sets a goal of creating one million new jobs for Palestinians through a proposed investment of $50 billion in infrastructure, education, and tourism. The plan also includes a $5 billion in transport corridor to connect West Bank and Gaza strip together.
Two years ago, in 2017, The US President, Donald Trump had promised to strike a “Deal of the Century”, his allusion to the resolution of the decades’ old Israel-Palestine conflict. Now more than two years later, the first stage of that highly embellished deal was officially revealed to this economic workshop in Manama.
All the details regarding this recent development are found in a 40-page document, “Peace to Prosperity”, that was just published by the White House. It outlines an economic vision for $50 billion investment in Palestinian territories and its neighboring Arab countries.
However, the conference leaves many Arab states in a dilemma of this so-called “deal of the century”, with particularly Jordan to bear the brunt, if any such plan goes into the operational stage.
The usual suspects are obviously the US regional allies, namely Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. But with the Palestinian representatives boycotting to the Workshop, there are few reasons to be optimistic about any resolution in the foreseeable future. Although Israel was planning to send its envoys to Manama, the Palestinian officials chose to stay away and boycott, alongside Iraq and Lebanon.
Ibrahim Melhem, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, publicly requested Jordan and Egypt to withdraw. Both of these are the only Arab states to have signed the peace treaties with Israel, and Trump Administration also claimed that both were expected to join the Manama Conference. However, Ibrahim Melhem had warned that it would send a “wrong message” to the Arab community if Jordan and Egypt join the conference that is nothing but the US plan to entail the consolidation of Israel’s land that belonged to the future state of Palestine.
However, the deal that could be termed as the biggest bribe in human history, has been outrightly rejected by the Palestinian officials as well as the people of the occupied territory. They say that no economic solution is acceptable unless it is attached to the political solution.
“Palestinians do not see that the solution to their issue is just by money,” as Al-Jazeera’s correspondent shares the people’s view from Ramallah, “They say they are not looking for a better life under occupation, but are looking for ways to end it.”
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