Tue, 29 Sep 2020

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and other Palestinian groups said White House adviser Jared Kushner';s proposed economic plan was a non-starter unless it came coupled with a political solution for the Israel-Palestinian conflict and an end to occupation.

- World news -

The $50 billion so-called "peace to prosperity" plan, set to be presented by US President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner at a conference in Bahrain next week, envisions a global investment fund to lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies.

Leaders of both the PLO in the West Bank and Hamas, the resistance movement that controls the Gaza strip, have dismissed Kushner';s proposal for the $50 billion plan.

"We reject the 'deal of the century' and all its dimensions, the economic, the political and the security dimensions," a senior Hamas official told Reuters.

"The issue of our Palestinian people is a nationalistic issue, it is the issue of a people who are seeking to be free from occupation. Palestine isn't for sale, and it is not an issue for bargaining. Palestine is a sacred land and there is no option for the occupation except to leave," the official added.

A senior official with the PLO said a political solution that ends the Israeli 'occupation' of the West Bank and Gaza strip must occur before any economic deal could be reached, calling Kushner';s deal "all abstract promises.'

White House officials unveiled Kushner';s sprawling economic plan earlier Saturday, calling it a path to 'empower the Palestinian people to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society.'

Meanwhile, the US plan has drawn criticism from prominent commentators and ordinary citizens in various countries who have denounced the scheme in strikingly similar terms: "colossal waste of time," "non-starter," "dead on arrival."

"Homelands cannot be sold, even for all the money in the world," Egyptian analyst Gamal Fahmy said. "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."

Commentator Sarkis Naoum at Lebanon's An-Nahar newspaper said, "This economic plan, like others, won't succeed because it has no political foundation."

Jawad al-Anani, a former senior Jordanian politician, described widespread suspicion after Trump's decisions to move the US embassy to Jerusalem (al-Quds) and recognize Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights.

"This is an unbalanced approach: it assumes the Palestinians are the more vulnerable side and they are the ones who can succumb to pressure more easily," he said. "This is a major setback for the whole region."

Azzam Huneidi, deputy head of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, the country's main opposition said, "The economic plan is the sale of Palestine under the banner of prosperity in return for peace and with no land being returned... and with the bulk of the funds shouldered by Gulf Arab states... A deal with Arab money."

Kushner's economic proposals will be discussed at the US-led gathering in Bahrain on June 25-26. The Palestinian Authority is boycotting and the White House did not invite the Israeli government.

US-allied Persian Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will take part along with officials from Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. Lebanon and Iraq will not attend.

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