Days before Jared Kushner was due to kick off the economic half of his Mideast peace plan on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whisked U.S. national security advises off on a helicopter tour of the West Bank's Jordan Valley.
Speaking during the trip through the area, which runs along the eastern part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank near the border with Jordan, Netanyahu customs reporters that holds an Israeli presence there should be part of any peace agreement.
Responding to the prime minister's remarks, Bolton said the Trump administration would take the prime minister's concerns "very much into account."
Pictures of the tour which also includes U.S. Ambassador David Friedman will serve as a potent symbol of occupation for many Palestinians, and underlined his near-unanimous rejection of the conference in the Bahraini capital of Manama.
This rejection comes despite the Kushner's plan of funneling billions of dollars Gaza Strip and West Bank
Billions of dollars aren't going to resolve the decades-long deadlock, according to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, who said the American plan is biased toward Israel and Palestinian political aspirations are also neglected.
Focusing on economic issues "is unacceptable before the political solution is discussed," he told on his Fatah party on Sunday.
While the administration is touting business opportunities, there has been little clarity on the political side of things. The trump administration has said that it is politically half coming, but have refused to put it on when it would be released.
policy supporting a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict – adding to the profound disillusionment of many Palestinians. [AmbassadorFriedmanaddedfueltothefirewhenhetoldTheNewYorkTimesearlierthismonththatIsraelhadtherighttoannexatleastsomeoftheWestBank
More than 3 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem along with close to 620,000 settlers who moved to the territories in the years after Israel captured the area in The 1967 Arab-Israeli was
Bolton's comments during his tour of the Jordan Valley Sunday's further proof that the Trump administration was "singing from Netanyahu's hymn sheet," said Yossi Mekelberg, a professor of international relations at Regent's University, London. and senior consulting research fellow at Chatham House.
Unilateral annexation of occupied land does not include part of an agreement. rnational law, he added.
Politics vs economics
Under the Kushner plan, donor countries and investors would funnel in about $ 50 billion into the region. Around $ 28 billion would go to the Palestinian territories, as well as $ 7.5 billion to Jordan, $ 9 billion to Egypt and $ 6 billion to Lebanon.
"I laugh when they attack this as the 'deal of the century,'" Kushner said. Reuters, referring to President Donald Trump's claim for the plan. "This is going to be the opportunity of the century if they have the courage to pursue it." Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special envoy for peace talks, suggested to the editor of The Jerusalem Post last week that the publication of the long-awaited plan could be delayed until November following crucial elections in Israel.
"There is a lot of talk that we're trying to buy the Palestinians, that this is merely an economic peace, that's completely untrue," he said. also told Israel's Channel 12 News last week
Trump's approach to the Palestinian issue since taking office did not "instill confidence among the Palestinians."
Last year, Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem and halted funding for UNRWA, the United Nations agency that has supported Palestinian refugees for seven decades, as well as other projects – deepening the hardship and desperation of millions of Palestinians in the blockade Gaza Strip, and occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank
The White House also closed the Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington. In March, Trump endorsed Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights from Syria
On the streets of the city of Ramallah in the West Bank on Monday, protesters rejected Kushner's 40-page plan set to be discussed in full with Arab leaders in Bahrain on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We don't need money, we need to get rid of the occupation. Palestine is not for sale, ”said Khaled Mansur, a 60-year-old Palestinian who was among the thousands protesting.
Fawaz Gerges, a professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said the Bahrain conference had "exposed" the peace plan about providing the Palestinians with economic help in exchange for giving up their aspirations to establish a Palestinian state.
In the process, he said Trump was dismantling decades of an international consensus and empowering "ultra -nationalists in Israel.
Hady Amr, who served as deputy special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under Obama, said the fundamental problem with the Palestinian economy was not a shortage of investment but a lack of freedom and sovereignty. He pointed to the blockade Gaza strip where some 1.8 million people live in an area twice the size of the American capital.
or London that was literally walled off from the world and people could not enter or exit, ”he said. "How can the economy function in a world like the one we have today?"
"Running out of time"
Then there is the fact that the main protagonists in the conflict are not at the conference since the Palestinian Authority are boycotting the event. Greenblatt confirmed last week that the Trump administration had decided that the Israeli government should also not attend.
The conference will instead include a collection of low-ranking officials from Arab countries and a handful of private Israelis and Palestinians.
While Israeli politics remains uncertain ahead of elections this fall, the Palestinian leadership is also divided between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza.
And then there is how late in the US election cycle such as a rollout would come – just a year before presidential elections. So the current White House would have very little space to maneuver and cajole, with different parties preferring to play for time than deal with an administration that could be on its way out.
“This administration is running out of time and has run out of ideas, ”Mekelberg said.
Saphora Smith reported from London. Lawahez Jabari reported from the West Bank and Paul Goldman reported from Tel Aviv.
Associated Press contributed.