‘Tragic’: Kushner’s economic plan for Middle East peace hits rejection

Riyadh: Arab politicians and commentators have greeted US President Donald Trump’s $US50 billion Middle East economic vision with a mixture of derision and exasperation.

Although some in the Gulf called for it to be given a chance, in Israel where Trump enjoys great support from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhyahu, Tzachi Hanegbi, a Cabinet member close to him, described Palestinians’ rejection of the “peace to prosperity” plan as tragic.

Set to be presented by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, at a conference in Bahrain on Tuesday and Wednesday, the blueprint envisions a global investment fund to lift the Palestinian and neighbouring Arab economies and is part of broader efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestininan peace process.

“We don’t need the Bahrain meeting to build our country, we need peace, and the sequence of [the plan] – economic revival followed by peace is unrealistic and an illusion,” Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara said.

The lack of a political solution, which Washington has said would be unveiled later, prompted rejection not only from Palestinians but in Arab countries with which Israel would seek normal relations.

From Sudan to Kuwait, commentators and citizens denounced Kushner’s proposals in strikingly similar terms: “colossal waste of time”, “non-starter”, “dead on arrival.”

Read the article by Stephen Kalin in The Sydney Morning Herald.