White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said that prosperity for the Palestinians is not possible without a fair political solution but that agreement on an economic pathway forward was a necessary precondition for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Kushner was speaking at the opening of a workshop in Bahrain to showcase the economic portion of Washington's long-awaited Arab-Israeli peace plan, a $50 billion development blueprint unveiled this week.
Kushner said the political component of the plan would not be discussed at the event.
The conference aims to address the $50 billion Middle East economic plan, which hopes to set up a global investment fund to “lift the Palestinian and Arab state economies” and construct a $5 billion transportation corridor that would connect the West Bank with Gaza.
The workshop began with an opening speech from Kushner, who is the son-in-law and senior advisor of US President Donald Trump.
The panel after his speech will be on building a coalition for Middle East prosperity, according to the workshop’s official program.
White House Adviser Jared Kushner: Some people have mockingly called this effort the “Deal of the Century” but at its core, it is not just about making a deal. In fact, this effort is better referred to as the “Opportunity of the Century”.https://t.co/ZWRFNebzys pic.twitter.com/kQplbdsdt5— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) June 25, 2019
Top business people from around the world are set to attend workshop, including Founder and Chairman of UAE based Emaar Properties Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of US-based Blackstone Steven Schwarzman, Chairman of Nigerian Heirs Holding Tony Elumelu, President of Turkish Summa Selim Bora, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, CEO of Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev, and Michael Wilkinson, a General Manager in the British Company, Bechtel.
Other panels taking place in the two-day workshop are titled “Unleashing Economic Potential”, “Empowering the People”, “Strengthening the Workforce through Women’s Empowerment”, and “New Foundations for Growth”.
The workshop will also include conversation sessions discussing sectors for growth, the power of sport and entertainment, future healthcare systems, developing a thriving local business environment, and economic transformation.
The workshop is part of US President Donald Trump’s coming Middle East peace plan, according to the White House.
It is also expected to include proposals for resolving thorny political issues at the heart of the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump has touted the coming plan as the “deal of the century,” but Palestinian officials have rebuked the US effort, which they believe will be heavily biased in favor of Israel.
Trump’s Middle East team, led by Kushner and regional envoy Jason Greenblatt, appears intent on focusing initially on the potential economic benefits, despite deep skepticism among experts that they can succeed where decades of US-backed efforts have failed.