The economic proposal purportedly designed to help foment Israeli-Palestinian peace and made public over the weekend by Jared Kushner, top advisor and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, fell predictably flat as Palestinians rejected it immediately as not tethered to reality and an insult to those who continue to struggle while living under the U.S.-backed military occupation of the Israelis.
Part of what has become know as Kushner's "Deal of the Century" proposal to end the Israel-Palestine conflict, it was treated as largely unserious by Palestinians and those who advocate for their liberation.
According to Reuters:
The "peace to prosperity" plan, set to be presented by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner at an international conference in Bahrain next week, includes 179 infrastructure and business projects, according to details of the plan and interviews with U.S. officials. The approach towards reviving the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process was criticized by the Palestinians on Saturday.
The ambitious economic revival plan, the product of two years of work by Kushner and other aides, would take place only if a political solution to the region's long-running problems is reached.
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 answer from Palestinians—abrupt and dismissive—was emphatic: the proposal is a nonstarter.
"Palestine is not for sale," said the Hamas government in Gaza in response.
In an interview on Al-Jazeera, Palestinian rights activist Ali Abunimah, co-founder and editor of the Electric Intifada, was incredulous and said Kushner—who has a "real credibility problem" to begin with—"can't tell us he cares about ending poverty for Palestinians while inflicting more poverty on them."
As opposed to something that anyone who has seriously studied the issue would dare present as a serious solution, Abunimah characterized it as nothing more than "slick marketing" and the "repackaging of recycled and hollow slogans that fail to address the root problem: Israeli occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid."
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, echoed others in the Palestine Authority who said that it makes no sense to talk about economic investments until the political crisis at the heart of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian lands is ended.
"First lift the siege of Gaza, stop the Israeli theft of our land, resources and funds, give us our freedom of movement and control over our borders, airspace, territorial waters etc.," Ashrawi said on Saturday. "Then watch us build a vibrant prosperous economy as a free and sovereign people."
Trump's economic apartheid plan has been met with a resoundingly cold reception on all fronts: Israeli officials dismiss it as irrelevant, neighboring Arab states call it a bribe, and Palestinians say it fails to address any genuine political aspirations. https://t.co/j0Vq72xvD0 pic.twitter.com/67V42p1upf
— The IMEU (@theIMEU) June 23, 2019
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the same as he rejected the proposal on Saturday. "The economic situation should not be discussed before the political one," Abbas said. "As long as there is no political solution, we do not deal with any economic solution."