“President Trump and America have not given up on you,” White House senior adviser Jared Kushner declared on Tuesday in Bahrain, appealing directly to the Palestinian people.
By World Israel News and AP
President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, appealed Tuesday directly to the Palestinians, asking them to consider his ambitious $50 billion economic plan despite their leadership’s outright rejection of the proposal, even before it was ever released.
Kushner kicked off a two-day workshop in the tiny Gulf kingdom of Bahrain aimed at building support for his economic vision.
“My direct message to the Palestinians is that despite what those who have let you down in the past have told you, President Trump and America have not given up on you,” Kushner said, “This workshop is for you and if this is executed correctly it will lead to a better future for the Palestinian people: a future of dignity, prosperity and opportunity.”
Kushner’s audience in Bahrain did not include an official Israeli or Palestinian delegation. Those who heard Kushner in person were Arab finance ministers, the heads of international financial organizations and global business executives and investors.
Specifically, the heads of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are attending and speaking at the event, as will the head of FIFA, the international soccer federation, and the managers of numerous large investment funds.
Without seeing its contents, Palestinian leaders rejected the proposal, which aims in 10 years to create a million new jobs, slash unemployment and improve living standards in Judea and Samaria, Gaza and across the Middle East. U.S. officials say the political portion of the plan addressing borders and other key issues will not be released until the fall.
While Kushner acknowledged that a political solution is key to the success of the economic proposal, he said it was first more important to set out what is economically possible.
“Agreeing on an economic pathway forward is a necessary precondition to resolving what has been a previously unsolvable political situation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Palestinian terror group Hamas called a general strike in Gaza on Tuesday to protest the meeting, with demonstrators in Judea and Samaria burning effigies of Trump and featuring a donkey pasted over with images of Gulf royals.
“Palestine is not for sale!” protesters chanted. “From Bahrain to Saudi Arabia we are not tempted by your millions!” they said.
Trump, Kushner and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin argue that a new approach is needed because previous efforts have fallen short.
The Palestinians cut ties with the White House after Trump officially recognized Israeli’s capital, Jerusalem, in December 2017, and say they will not accept any peace proposal from the Trump administration.
Trump’s Mideast team recently signaled it would abide by Israeli annexation of parts of Judea and Samaria, the biblical heartland of the Jewish people, deepening Palestinian suspicions.
Saudi Arabia, one of the few Arab countries to send its foreign minister to the event, said it remained committed to a Palestinian state, issuing the following statement: “The Kingdom reiterates its firm position on the Palestinian cause and solving it in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative, which called for establishing an independent Palestinian state along the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab nations to have signed peace deals with Israel, are sending mid-level representatives to Bahrain and said they would not abandon demands for a Palestinian state.
At a ceremony hosted by Israel’s president to mark 40 years of Egyptian-Israeli peace on Tuesday, Egypt’s ambassador to Israel, Khaled Azmi, said his country’s “vision was, and still is, based on full nation-statehood and security for everyone in the region.”
Bahrain, which has close ties to the Saudis, has been criticized for hosting the conference and sharply limited the number of journalists allowed to cover it. It has defended its decision by saying its only objective is to support the “brotherly Palestinian people.”