A broad Arab rejection of Washington's economic plan for peace in the Middle East News -

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Jared Kouchner, the son-in-law of US President Trump, will present the "Peace for Prosperity" plan at an international conference in Bahrain on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 25-26, 2019. "We will have to study the plan," said Jared Kouchner, Chance of the century "if they have the courage to commit to it.

The plan does not address the political aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, preferring to mention any political agreement between the parties. The Trump administration confirms that the political aspect of the plan will be unveiled later this year, possibly in November after the upcoming elections in Israel and the formation of the new government.

Details of the economic crack

The plan calls for huge investments to improve the production of electricity, drinking water supply and sewage treatment in the Palestinian territories as basic services deteriorate.

In the Gaza Strip, the plan provides for grants and loans of low interest of $ 590 million to modernize the power plant in Gaza and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs. The plan also sees great efforts to integrate the Palestinian economy with the economies of neighboring Arab countries, but not with Israel.

Up to $ 900 million in donations will be used to improve cargo terminals and build private roads to reduce and reduce the cost of cross-border shipping. The plan includes the construction of modern roads with the possibility of establishing a rail line connecting the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in an attempt to respond to the demand of the Palestinians to establish a state continuously geographically.

The plan notes $ 500 million in donations for a new world-class university in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. It also provides $ 30 million for women to raise their share of the labor force from 20 to 35 percent.

The overall aim is to increase life expectancy from 74 to 80 years. It also focuses on the tourism sector with $ 1.5 billion of low-interest loans and $ 500 million in grants to develop tourism sites and promote tourism in the Palestinian territories.

The plan notes that the Palestinian territories include some of the holiest sites of the Christian religion and believes that it is possible to promote tourism by attracting tens of thousands of additional tourists each year, especially by encouraging tourists to increase the additional station to their journey.

In an implicit criticism of the Palestinian Authority, the plan provides for a multilateral development bank to manage funds to prevent corruption and ensure transparency. In line with the view of the United States and the International Monetary Fund, the plan calls for a market economy that guarantees better protection of property rights and "tax legislation that promotes growth". The plan also allocates $ 30 million in grants to create a modern database to register real estate deeds.

Palästina, Gazastreifen, Chan Yunis, Flüchtlingslager (picture-alliance / I.Mohamad)

Difficult conditions Palestinians live in Gaza, for example, in a refugee camp in Khan Younis

A broad Palestinian and Arab rejection

But the lack of a political horizon has provoked rejection not only from the Palestinians but also from the Arab states to which Israel seeks normal relations.

The Palestinian Authority boycotted the meeting and the White House did not invite the Israeli government. Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said Kouchner's plans were all just "theoretical promises," suggesting only a political solution would solve the conflict. Hamas was more clear: "Palestine is not for sale."

Senior commentators and ordinary citizens denounced Kouchner's proposals in remarkably similar terms such as "a huge waste of time", "failed" and "doomed to failure from the start."

"This plan is the brainchild of real estate brokers, not politicians," said Egyptian analyst Gamal Fahmy. "Even Arab countries that are described as moderate are unable to express their support publicly." "This economic plan, like others, will not succeed because it has no political basis," said Sarkis Naoum, a commentator for the Lebanese daily An-Nahar.

"The economic plan represents the sale of Palestine under the banner of prosperity for peace without return of land," said Azzam al-Hinaidi, deputy general supervisor of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, the main opposition in the country. "The Arab Gulf countries bear the lion's share of the money," he said.

The Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah has described the plan as a "historic crime" that must be stopped.

Arab analysts believe the economic plan is an attempt to buy opposition to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories by bribing billions of dollars to neighboring countries hosting millions of Palestinian refugees for integration.

"A large part of the $ 50 billion will go to neighboring countries to settle the Palestinian refugees in those countries," said Safwan al-Masri, a Columbia University professor.

After the establishment of Israel in 1948, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon absorbed most of the Palestinian refugees. Some estimates indicate that their number now stands at some five million. "I think it will fail miserably, while the US adversaries in the region benefit," said Muhannad al-Haj Ali, a fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, referring to Iran.

"No harm from listening"

Gulf Arab states allied to the United States, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with officials from Egypt, Jordan and Morocco will participate in the Bahrain conference and will not attend Lebanon and Iraq.

For its part, Saudi Arabia assured the Arab allies that it will not support anything that does not meet the basic demands of the Palestinians. "The Palestinian Authority is wrong to reject the plan," said Ali al-Shihabi, president of the Arab Foundation, which supports Saudi policy. "You have to accept them and work to bring benefits to their people and then move forward vigorously in peaceful action … to seek political rights," he said in a tweet on Twitter.

Leading UAE businessman Khalaf Ahmed Al Habtoor criticized the Palestinians' refusal to go to Bahrain, saying "this approach … is short-sighted at best, and defeatist at its worst." "There is no harm in listening to the proposals that will be presented at the research table," he wrote.

Even in the Gulf, Kouchner's plan does not receive much support. Majid al-Ansari, a professor of political sociology at Qatar University, described it as funny and unrealistic. Kuwaiti researcher Maitham predicted that Washington would be unable to implement the plan through diplomacy and might have to impose it by force. "Trump gave Israel Jerusalem and the Golan, and every day presents them with gifts at the expense of the Arabs," he said.

"The Palestinians have the right to reject Kouchner's plan," said UAE political science professor Abdul Khaliq Abdullah

"The Gulf states will have a hard time imposing on the Palestinians … They will have difficulty convincing the Palestinians … This is not what people expect after years of conflict and struggle."

(AFP)

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