(June 23, 2019 / JNS) The Trump administration released a 40-page document on Saturday detailing a $50 billion, 10-year investment plan for the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, just days before the Washington-led “Peace to Prosperity” conference in Bahrain.
In an interview with Reuters, Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner revealed that $28 billion of the sum would go toward the Palestinian Authority and Gaza, with $7.5 billion earmarked for Jordan, $9 billion for Egypt and $6 billion for Lebanon. Of that, $26 billion would be loans, $13.5 billion grants and $11 billion private investments.
If Israel and the P.A. agree to the initiative, the new plan would aim to double the P.A.’s GDP, cutting the P.A. poverty rate by 50 percent and reducing the unemployment rate—which is 17.6 percent in Judea and Samaria and 52 percent in Gaza—to single digits.
Palestinian officials, who have already boycotted the conference, were quick to reject the economic plan, which deals only with financial concerns and does not address issues such as security, borders, Jerusalem, or refugees. The Trump administration has said it will tackle those topics after the Sept. 17 Israeli elections.
“We have said that we will not attend the workshop in Bahrain,” P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas told the central committee of his Fatah faction in Ramallah on Saturday.
“The reason is that the economic situation should not be discussed before the political one. And as long as there is no political [solution], we do not deal with any economic issues,” he said.
The released plan did include projects such as updated border crossings, a high-speed train from Gaza to Judea and Samaria and infrastructure for tourism and health advancements.
Though the P.A. has refused to participate and Israel has not been invited to officially attend, representatives from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar will take part in the conference, as well as members of the International Monetary Fund, and heads of major organizations and corporations such as AT&T.