Abbas rejects ‘Peace to Prosperity’, US envoy defends it

June 23, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas rejected the economic chapter of the Trump’s administration released on Saturday, saying that the political issues must be settled before the economy is discussed.

The White House on Saturday released a 96-page document outlining its economic vision for the PA and Middle East in the coming decade. The plan includes some $50 billion in investment in the region in the coming 10 years, about $28 to be invested in the PA, doubling the PA’s GDP, creating over a million jobs and lowering the unemployment rate.

The vast sums for investment are expected to come primarily from donor countries.

The plan was released days before the US-sponsored “Peace to Prosperity” workshop in Manama, Bahrain, is slated to commence.

The summit, which will commence on Tuesday, is considered a major step towards the unveiling of President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the Middle East, and the PA has called on Arab countries and Arab businessmen to boycott it.

Abbas stated Saturday that the PA is not attending the workshop because “the economic situation should not be discussed before the political one. As long as there is no political [solution], we do not deal with any economic [solution].”

However, Jason Greenblatt, the US’ Special Representative for International Negotiations, defended the plan as “a new approach to helping build a better future for the Palestinian people and others in the region.”

“Peace to Prosperity has the potential to achieve incredible results,” and “this innovative economic approach coupled with a political agreement (if achievable), can transform the region,” he stated Saturday.

Israel was not officially invited to Bahrain and has not commented on the latest developments.

Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yoav Mordechai, former head of the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), will be present at the summit as Israel’s unofficial representatives.

After much deliberation, Bahrain has allowed journalists from six different Israeli media outlets to enter the country to cover the conference.

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