Gaza, ALEAY - White House senior adviser Jared Kushner unveiled the economic blueprint the “peace to prosperity” plan, that set to be presented at an international conference in Bahrain next week.
White House's Kushner unveils economic portion of Middle East peace plan in a speech to Reuters Television.
Donor nations and investors would contribute about $50 billion, with $28 billion going to the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, $7.5 billion to Jordan, $9 billion to Egypt and $6 billion for Lebanon. The White House hopes wealthy Gulf states will be among the biggest donors. Kushner told Reuters the United States would also consider contributing.
The Trump administration hopes that wealthy Gulf states and nations in Europe and Asia, along with private investors, would foot much of the bill.
Money raised through this international effort would be placed in a newly created fund to boost the economies of the Palestinian areas and those three countries. It would be administered by a multinational development bank. The funds would be managed by an appointed board of governors who would determine allocation based on project proposals.
$15 billion of the total would come from grants, $25 billion in subsidized loans, and about $11 billion would come in through private capital.
179 economic development projects would be funded, including 147 for the West Bank and Gaza, 15 for Jordan, 12 for Egypt, and 5 for Lebanon.
He explained that more than half of the $50 billion would be spent in the economically troubled Palestinian territories over 10 years while the rest would be split between Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. Some of the projects would be in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, where investments could benefit Palestinians living in adjacent Gaza, a crowded and impoverished coastal enclave.
The projects include infrastructure, water, power, telecommunications, tourism and medical facilities, among others.
Power lines from Egypt into Gaza would be upgraded and rehabilitated to increase the flow of electricity. It also proposes exploring ways to better use existing Egyptian industrial zones to promote trade between Egypt, Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, but does not identify the zones.
The plan touts for Palestinian areas the “potential to transform into a successful global tourism destination,” and proposes $950 million in grants and loans to develop the Palestinian tourism industry. It seeks to “repair and restore historical and religious sites and beachfront areas.”
If carried out, the plan would double Palestinian gross domestic product in 10 years, create more than 1 million jobs in the West Bank and Gaza, reduce unemployment to single digits and the poverty rate by 50 percent, according to the documents and officials.
Kushner is taking a two-phased approach to the Trump Middle East peace plan. The next phase will be the much more sensitive political part, which deals with some of the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The timing for that remains unclear.
The Palestinians, who are boycotting the event, have refused to talk to the Trump administration since it recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in late 2017.
Veteran Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi dismissed the proposals on Saturday, saying: “These are all intentions, these are all abstract promises” and said only a political solution would solve the conflict.