The United States has released a proposal to create a $ 50bn global investment fund for the Palestinians and neighboring Arab states, designed to be the economic engine of the long-awaited US Middle East peace plan.
The plan was posted on the White House website on Saturday, two days before a US-led workshop in Bahrain where the economic portion of the s o-called "deal of the century" is set to be discussed
The Manama conference is taking place despite opposition from the Palestinians, who will not attend.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday rejected the economic plan and the US peace effort, which is led by US President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner.
"The economic situation should not be discussed before the political one," Abbas said on Saturday. "As long as there is no political solution, we do not deal with any economic solution."
Speaking to Reuters News Agency, Kushner, who is also Trump's son-in-law, said the economy first approach was "necessary" to break away from the political side, if it were "less controversial".
"Let's let people study it, give feedback," he said. "Let's try to finalize if we can all agree on what that could look like in the event of a peace agreement."
Fundamental political issues such as the occupation of Palestinian territories, the right of return for refugees and their descendants (of which roughly five million live in refugee camps in neighboring Arab countries) and border sovereignty were not mentioned in the plan.
Instead, the economic scheme included 1
Some of the projects would take place in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, where investments could benefit Palestinians living in adjacent Gaza, a Israel and Egypt crowded and impoverished coastal enclave for 12 years.
According to Kushner, the 10-year plan would create a million jobs in the West Bank and Gaza.
"It would take their unemployment rate from about 30 percent to the single digits, "he said. "It would reduce their poverty rate by half, if it's implemented correctly."
His comments drew the ire of Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee.
"First, lift the siege of Gaza, stop the Israeli of our country, resources and funds, give us our freedom of movement and control over our borders, airspace, territorial waters etc, "she said in a post on Twitter.
Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of Electronic Intifada, told Al Jazeera Kushner's plan, "an effort to buy Palestine for peanuts and give Palestinians nothing in exchange." 19659011] "The basic issue of Israeli military occupation, colonization and apartheid is really the elephant in the room," Abunimah said.
"The Trump administration and other US officials in charge of this so-called peace process are supporting everything that destroys the Palestinian economy, which plunges millions of Palestinians into poverty and prevent Palestinians from thriving." to the World Bank, Israeli military restrictions on Palestinian businesses and agriculture reduce Palestinian economy by 35 percent, "Abunimah continued. "Palestinians don't need Jared Kushner's charity. What they need is liberation."
In Gaza, Hamas official Ismail Rudwan also rejected Kushner's proposals.
"We reject the 'deal of the century 'and all its dimensions, the economic, the political and the security dimensions,' Rudwan customs Reuters.
' It is not an issue for bargaining. Palestine is a safe country and there is no option for the occupation, except to leave, "he said.
Several Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, will also participate in the Bahrain workshop. Their presence, some US officials say privately, appears to be part of a curry favor with Trump as he takes a hard line against Iran, those countries' regional regional rival.
would foot much of the bill.
The White House said it decided against inviting the Israeli government because the Palestinian Authority would not be there, making instead of a small Israeli business delegation. US and Iran have sky-rocketed, after Iranian forces shot down and unmanned US drone last Thursday.
According to President Trump, he had called off a military response on three Iranian targets at the last minute. world appealed for de-escalation, with Russia accusing the US of deliberately stoking tensions with Iran and pushing the situation to the brink of war.