Jared Kushner: Middle East economic plan to wait for political peace deal

Jared Kushner: Middle East economic plan to wait for political peace deal

Jared Kushner

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Gaza Post- Agencies

Senior US official and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner on Wednesday ruled out any spending on the US economic plan to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without “an actual understanding” on a peace deal.

The comments by Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, appeared to be a nod to critics of the plan, who had said it separated economics from politics and Palestinian rights enriched in international law.

Although Mr Kushner had said the US was working on a proposal for a political solution, it was the first time he publicly emphasised the importance of the political side of what has been dubbed as “the ultimate deal” in such forthright terms.

“We are talking with some of our partner countries about finding ways to create the right mechanism to potentially implement it in the event there is progress on the political front,” Mr Kushner said, referring to the US$50 billion plan that was unveiled last month.

“What we want to do is finalise it and make it more real,” he said in a telephone briefing to journalists. “At some point there will be negotiations on the political issues and when that happens I think it will give a lot more comfort for these negotiations for people to see that there is a defined, locked-and-loaded economic plan for what could occur after a political breakthrough is reached.”

Mr Kushner was speaking a week after the US convened a major conference in Bahrain to promote the plan, which had come under wide criticism for appearing to separate economics from politics and Palestinian rights enriched in international law.

The plan seeks envisages more than 150 projects, including a transport link between the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It allocates $27bn for those two territories, and the remaining $23bn for Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel.

The Palestinian leadership had rejected the plan even before it was unveiled, saying President Trump has no intention of acknowledging the Israeli occupation and restoring Palestinian rights.

Muriel Asseburg, senior fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and Hugh Lovatt of the European Council on Foreign Relations, argued in an article in Foreign Policy magazine last month that Europe should stay away from the deal, terming it a "doomed plan that will make things worse".

"They should only back it if the core political rights of Palestinians and basic provisions of international law are protected," the two political researchers said.

Source: The National World

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