No Israelis or Palestinians present for launch of plan that shreds decades of diplomacy
Martin Chulov Middle East correspondent
Tue 25 Jun 2019
The first phase of the Trump administration’s long-awaited peace plan for Israel and Palestine has been rolled out to scepticism, anger and outright derision.
A conference hall of regional officials – with no Israelis or Palestinians present – was the first to hear details of the US-brokered deal, an economic blueprint that shreds decades of diplomacy and which even its mooted financial backers seemed reluctant to embrace.
The centrepiece appears to be a call for donors to contribute $50bn to kickstart the Palestinian economy and win the buy-in of neighbouring Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, which would eventually open direct trade links with the West Bank and Gaza.
There has been no sign of a political dimension to the proposal, hailed as the brainchild of Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner. Critics across the region suggested the US was replacing the long-agreed “land for peace” formula with a blunt new “money for peace” that attempted to buy off the Palestinian cause.
Kushner said his plan was “the opportunity of the century” for the Palestinians but their acceptance was a precondition for peace.
“Agreeing on an economic pathway forward is a necessary precondition to resolving the previously unsolvable political issues,” he said. “To be clear, economic growth and prosperity for the Palestinian people are not possible without an enduring and fair political solution to the conflict – one that guarantees Israel’s security and respects the dignity of the Palestinian people.”
Acknowledging the scepticism about his father-in-law’s policy in the region, he said: “My direct message to the Palestinian people is that despite what those who have let you down in the past say, President Trump and America have not given up on you.”