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US formally unveils Middle East peace plan at Bahrain conference


US formally unveils Middle East peace plan at Bahrain conference

Photo: Reuters

A US delegation headed by President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner will officially unveil the economic portion of its Middle East peace plan at a conference in Bahrain today.

The “Peace to Prosperity Plan” aims to infuse $50 billion of public and private investment in 179 infrastructure projects across Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. Palestine would receive $28 billion of the fund.

The plan faces a number of challenges. For instance, Washington will not contribute funds directly into the fund but instead rely on Gulf states and private investors to contribute. Representatives from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE are expected to attend today’s conference but specific funding commitments have yet to be officially announced.

The plan is also opposed by Palestinian leaders, who are expected to boycott the conference today. They insist that a declaration be made on the key political issues of the Palestine question: the status of Jerusalem, the right of return for Palestinian refugees and the status of Israeli settlements in occupied territories.

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Washington intends to unveil a political declaration on the Palestinian question sometime after the re-run of Israel’s elections in September. However, as the declaration will be contingent in part on the success of the economic component of the plan, the Trump administration’s foray into forging a Middle East peace faces an uphill battle unless it directly addresses these major issues.

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