Economic portion of Trump Middle East Peace Plan met with immediate suspicion upon release

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law, will submit the £39 billion plan at a conference in Bahrain this week - but has already been accused of trying to bribe Palestinians


The announcement of the economic portion of the long-awaited Trump Middle East peace plan has been met with an immediate rejection from both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as many of the countries in the region.

Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s son-in-law, has not yet revealed the political aspects of the plan, which he has been working on for the past two years. But its economic portion, due to be officially presented at a conference in Bahrain this week, has been described as an attempt to bribe the Palestinians into accepting the status quo.

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said that “as long as there is no political solution, we will not deal with any economic solution.”

Other senior members of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank called for an end to “Israeli occupation” before any deal could be countenanced. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, responded to news of the plan by saying “Palestine is not for sale”.

Under Mr Kushner’s plan, approximately $50 billion (£39 billion) would be used to lift the Palestinian economy and that of neighbouring states, including Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. It would include more than 175 infrastructure projects, including a $5 billion (£3.92) transportation corridor between the West Bank and Gaza, as well as an upgrade worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Gaza’s power plant. More than half of the proposed sum would be spent on the Palestinian territories.

Mr Kushner told Reuters that “the whole notion here is that we want people to agree on the plan and then we’ll have a discussion with people to see who is interested in potentially doing what.”

He also said that America was hoping that the money would be raised via a mixture of funding from Arab and European nations, as well as private donors.

But the Trump administration, which moved the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and officially recognised Israel’s control of the Golan Heights, is not viewed with any trust by the Arab world.

"Homelands cannot be sold, even for all the money in the world," Egyptian analyst Gamal Fahmy was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying.

"This plan is the brainchild of real estate brokers, not politicians. Even Arab states that are described as moderate are not able to openly express support for it."

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