- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 22, 2019

The White House released a $50 billion package to help the Palestinian economy Saturday and to pave the way for its highly anticipated Middle East peace plan.

The infrastructure and investment plan, which aims to create at least one million jobs for Palestinians through a mix of public and private financing, comes ahead of a two-day “Peace to Prosperity” conference in Bahrain next week.

“For too long the Palestinian people have been trapped in inefficient frameworks of the past,” said White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. “The Peace to Prosperity plan is a framework for a brighter, more prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region and a vision of what is possible if there is peace.”

The 10-year plan would fund projects worth $27.5 billion in the West Bank and Gaza, and would direct $9.1 billion, $7.4 billion and $6.3 billion for Palestinians in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, respectively. It includes proposals for health care, education, power, water, high-tech industry, tourism, and agriculture.

“Generations of Palestinians have lived under adversity and loss, but the next chapter can be defined by freedom and dignity,” the White House said, calling the plan “the most ambitious international effort for the Palestinian people to date.”

Palestinian leaders, angered by what they and their supporters see as blatant U.S. bias toward Israel, want nothing to do with the workshop and will not participate. The Palestinians have called for mass demonstrations against the conference on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The plan cannot pass because it ends the Palestinian cause,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday. “We are not going to attend this workshop, the reason is that the economic situation should not be discussed before a political situation, so long as there is no political situation, we do not deal with any economic situation.”

This article is based on wire-service reports.

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