US: Bahrain Summit ‘Galvanized’ Investors; PLO Dismisses Plan as ‘Insult to Our Intelligence’

June 27, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The US praised the Peace to Prosperity Workshop in Bahrain as a success that “galvanized enthusiasm among potential investors to transform the Palestinian economy,” while the PLO dismissed the economic plans, saying they are “an insult to our intelligence.”

President Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt. Credit: Wikipedia.

Jason Greenblatt, the US’ Special Representative for International Negotiations, on Thursday thanked Bahrain for hosting the US-sponsored Peace to Prosperity Workshop, considered a major step towards the unveiling of President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority (PA) had called on Arab countries and businessmen to boycott it.

Greenblatt said that “despite the cynical efforts of some,” the summit “galvanized enthusiasm among potential investors to transform the Palestinian economy if a political agreement between Israel and Palestinians can be achieved.”

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 and investors.

However, Hanan Ashrawi, member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, stated Wednesday that economic plans were tried before as a solution to the conflict and have failed.

Ashrawi said the fate of the new plan will be the same as the previous ones.

“Economic peace was being presented before repeatedly and failed and it is being presented once again; recycled,” she said, according to the PA’s official WAFA agency. “It is an insult to our intelligence.”

She said the real issue must be dealt with first, and that is “the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land.”

She accused the US of “trying to put the cart before the horse” by suggesting that an economic plan is going to lead to a political solution.

“They want to normalize and integrate the occupation on Palestinian land and integrate the settlers with Palestinians. It is rewarding Israel and punishing the Palestinians. Normalization first and then we deal with the political issues,” she said.

“Whatever you do while maintaining the Israeli occupation will lead to a constant, endless cycle of destruction. You can invest your money but Israel is capable of destroying it,” she charged.

Israel was not officially represented at the summit. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated  Sunday that he “cannot understand how the Palestinians before they even heard the plan rejected it outright. That’s not the way to proceed.”

As for Israel, “I would say that we’ll hear the American proposition, hear it fairly and with openness.”

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