U.S. President Donald Trump’s economic plan as part of the wider effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was met with contempt, repudiation and exasperation in the Arab world, even as some in the Gulf called for it to be given a chance. In Israel, Tzachi Hanegbi, a cabinet member close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called Palestinians’ rejection of the $50 billion “peace to prosperity” plan tragic. The blueprint, set to be presented by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner at a conference in Bahrain on June 25-26, envisions a global investment fund to lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies.
But the lack of a political solution, which Washington has said would be unveiled later, prompted rejection not only from Palestinians but also in Arab countries with which Israel would seek normal relations. From Sudan to Kuwait, prominent commentators and ordinary citizens denounced Kushner’s proposals in strikingly similar terms: “colossal waste of time,” “non-starter,” “dead on arrival. Homelands cannot be sold, even for all the money in the world,” Egyptian analyst Gamal Fahmy said. “This plan is the brainchild of real estate brokers, not politicians. Even Arab states that are described as moderate are not able to openly express support for it.”
Commentator Sarkis Naoum at Lebanon’s An-Nahar newspaper said, “This economic plan, like others, won’t succeed because it has no political foundation.” While the precise outline of the political plan has been shrouded in secrecy, officials briefed on it say Kushner has jettisoned the two-state solution – the long-standing worldwide formula that envisages an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. The PLO has dismissed Kushner’s plans as “all abstract promises,” insisting that only a political solution will solve the problem. It said they were an attempt to bribe the Palestinians into accepting Israeli occupation.