Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Palestinians: Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity
Leaders from several Arab nations will gather in Bahrain this week to discuss a 50 billion dollar relief plan and a possible path to peace between Palestinians and Israelis. The economic incentive program for building a future Palestinian state will be discussed at the “Peace to Prosperity” conference, co-hosted by the U.S. government and Bahrain. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco are participating. The Palestinians are boycotting the conference- Israeli government officials were not invited, but a business delegation from Israel will attend.
Under the plan, donor nations and investors would contribute about $50 billion over 10 years, with $28 billion going to the Palestinian territories. States that have absorbed Palestinian refugees int he past will also receive a significant amount of funding. $7.5 billion will be earmarked to Jordan, with $9 billion going to Egypt and $6 billion going to Lebanon.
Among 179 proposed infrastructure and business projects is a $5 billion transport corridor to connect the West Bank and Gaza. The proposed plan will facilitate billions of dollars of investment in Palestinian electricity, water, and telecommunications in an effort to create efficient transmission and distribution networks. Tourism, health care and cultural institutions will also be funded.
The Palestinian Authority is boycotting the conference, although 15 private Palestinian business leaders were expected to attend. President Mahmoud Abbas said focusing on economic issues “is unacceptable before the political situation is discussed.”
Comprehensive peace proposals have been presented to Palestinian leadership many times in the past, and have all been rejected.
The roll out of the peace plan's economic portion is only beginning, but the participation of some Arab states in the process is an important development. Both Palestinian and Israeli leadership should embrace this opportunity to create a lasting, stable peace.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would consider the U.S. plan: “We’ll hear the American proposition, hear it fairly and with openness.”
In response to the peace initiative, several senior officials in the PA have called for violence against Israel.