Little Enthusiasm for US Peace Plan

On Tuesday Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner started the ‘Peace to Prosperity’ workshop in Bahrain, saying his plan for the Middle East is “the opportunity of the century” for the Palestinians and that:

“Agreeing on an economic pathway forward is a necessary precondition
to resolving the previously unsolvable political issues.”

Jared Kushner opens the workshopJared Kushner opens the workshop

As the workshop moves into its second day today, the speakers include Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, Christine Lagarde, Chairman of the International Monetary Fund, and Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister.

Due to a boycott of the US peace effort, the only Palestinian attending the event is businessman Ashraf Jabari, who is also due to speak. He is an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority.

There are also a few Israeli business leaders at the workshop, but none of them are expected to speak at the event.

Much information about the American peace plan has been published before the start of the event and some analysts say that it is based on ‘a tired formula that will only fail again.’

Many believe that Arab nationalism overrides prosperity and development. Whilst economic prosperity has been achieved by some of the Arab nations in the past, others have come and destroyed it, often at the exhortation of political and religious leaders.

Palestinian leaders have cut off ties with Washington, accusing it of bias in favour of Israel. They have been quick to dismiss the new economic plan. On Sunday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said:

“Okay, we need economic help, the money and the assistance,
but before everything we need a political solution.
I cannot imagine the Manama workshop will produce any results
because it was based on a mistake.”

Amid the Palestinian boycott of the American initiative, Ismail Haneyya of Hamas said in Gaza yesterday:

Palestine is not for sale
Our people are rising up today in the face of the Bahrain conference,
in a renewed uprising and political revolution,
sensing the unprecedented threat facing the Palestinian cause.”