The wheels of US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s, peace plan for the Middle East are now in motion. This week, the first step of the plan illustrated in the “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop took place in Bahrain’s capital Manama.
While the Palestinian leadership said that it had not been consulted, the Israelis ended up not being invited. It may be that the administration did not invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government because they wanted to cover up the fact that they did not consult the Palestinians to begin with. However, they would never be able to hide the numerous decisions taken against them.
“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,” Kushner said as he opened the workshop on Tuesday.
One may ask: If the US administration “respects” the dignity of the Palestinian people, why has all its decisions regarding the conflict gone against them? How is cutting support for UNRWA and suggesting – as Grenblatt did – to dismantle it a sign of respect for the Palestinians?
During previous administrations, there were agreed principles that no US president crossed. These principles included the commitment to a two-state solution, support for UNRWA and more. However, under President Trump’s reign, we have witnessed the complete opposite: the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) office in Washington and the recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
We also have seen recently the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, saying that Israel has the “right” to annex some of the West Bank, all of which indicate bias in the United States’ peace plan.
“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, it is better referred to as the ‘opportunity of the century’, if leadership has the courage to pursue it,” Kushner said. “This is about creating opportunity for the Palestinian people, about creating opportunity for people throughout the Middle East.”
Perhaps the US administration thought that investments could be a card they can use to encourage the Palestinians to compromise on their demands and see it as an opportunity. However, these are the same people who have been calling for justice since the Nakba of 1948.