Jared Kushner, Special Advisor and son-in-law of Donald Trump, said in a conference call with Israeli and Arab journalists that the next step in his peace plan will be announced next week.
Kushner was firm in saying that the economic part of the plan that was laid out at least week’s Bahrain conference is dependent on the acceptance of the political part of the plan.
Ahead of the Bahrain conference, the White House revealed the economic part of its peace proposal for the Middle East conflict. It essentially consists of $50 billion to go towards the real needs of the Palestinian people.
The plan seeks to double the gross domestic product (GDP) of Palestinians, create approximately one million jobs for Palestinians, reduce unemployment in the West Bank and Gaza from 30 percent to single digits, and halve the percentage of poverty among the Palestinian population.
The Trump Administration wants to raise a good chunk of these funds from Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon as part of its plan. According to the White House report, $15 billion of the total $50 billion investment will come from grants, $25 billion in the form of subsidized loans and approximately $11 billion from private capital.
The money contributed by the US and these donor countries will finance 179 economic projects in areas such as infrastructure, water, energy, telecommunications, tourism, and medical services. Of that total, 147 of the projects will be for the West Bank and Gaza, 15 for Jordan, 12 in Egypt and five in Lebanon.
The proposal includes tens of millions of dollars that will be allocated to connect Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula for infrastructure – such as upgrading high-voltage lines and increasing electricity supply – and trade.
The plan includes the construction of a five billion dollar pathway such a road or possibly a railroad between the West Bank and Gaza. It also seeks to inject 950 million dollars in the tourism industry for the Palestinians.
In the interview Kushner criticized the Palestinian Authority for boycotting the Bahrain conference by saying that ”they made a strategic mistake by not engaging on this, they looked very foolish. The Palestinian leadership will have to step up at some point and show that they want their people to live better lives.”
“President Trump was very clear that he wants a solution to this issue and made it clear that he would work hard for that, but the Palestinian leadership will have to enlist and show that it is interested in a better life for the citizens,” said Kushner.
When asked about what he thought about PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Kushner said that “I have a lot of respect for President Abbas, he’s devoted his life to making peace, he’s suffered some setbacks along the way. I believe in his heart he wants to make peace, and that we can give him an opportunity to try to achieve that”.