President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner presented the economic component of the Trump administration’s plan for Palestine at the “Peace to Prosperity” workshop in Manama, Bahrain Tuesday and Wednesday. The plan, which would be part of a larger $50 billion economic plan for the Middle East, would see a transportation corridor through Israeli territory link Gaza with the West Bank and commit a bit more than half of the sum towards investments in the Palestinian territories over the next 10 years. Despite the plan’s lofty goals, leaders in Palestine and many Arab states have insisted that an economic proposal without a political solution to Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories is meaningless.
The summit is not being attended by leadership from Israel, the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, and Palestinians across the West Bank took to the streets of Hebron, Bethlehem and other cities and towns to protest. The Gaza Strip saw a general strike. Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Mohammad Shtayyeh argued in a Washington Post editorial that: “What Kushner and his colleagues don’t seem to realize is that Palestinians don’t need or want handouts. We need freedom and our rights and for Israel to end its domination over our lives and economy.”
Ramallah-based Palestinian-American businessman Sam Bahour moved to the West Bank following the Oslo Peace Accords in the mid-1990s to become involved in developing the Palestinian economy, and joins us for analysis.