TEL AVIV – Palestinian officials on Saturday slammed a $50 billion economic peace plan that was unveiled by the White House as bribery, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas saying it effectively “ended the Palestinian cause.”
Ahead of a two-day economic peace conference in Bahrain, the White House published the economic portion of its so-called “deal of the century.” The plan would see $50 billion injected into the Palestinian economy via public and private financing.
“The plan cannot pass because it ends the Palestinian cause,” 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.”
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi tweeted, “First lift the siege of Gaza, stop the Israeli theft of our land, resources and funds, give us our freedom of movement and control over our borders, airspace, territorial waters etc. Then watch us build a vibrant prosperous economy as a free & sovereign people.”
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh reiterated the notion of resolving the conflict only through political means.
“Our cause is a political one and should be dealt with as such. It is a strategic mistake and the American administration is committing daily mistakes against the Palestinian people. Without Palestinian approval, there is no value to any meeting, and without a political horizon, no one will deal with any effort. This conference was born dead just like the deal of the century,” he said.
Israeli Arabs also joined the fray in denouncing the proposal. Hadash-Tal Member of Knesset Ayman Odeh had some choice words for President Donald Trump.
“Somebody has to explain to Trump that not everything can be bought for money, certainly not the just national aspirations of the Palestinian people,” he tweeted. “The only solution to the conflict is to end the occupation and establish an independent Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel.”
The Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group also slammed the plan, saying it would do everything to foil it.
“The American administration continues to dream that the Palestinian people will give up their rights and holy sites in return for economic projects and money,” Hamas said in a statement.
According to Reuters, the plan was also rejected by commentators across the Arab world. Azzam Huneidi, deputy head of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s main opposition, said, “The economic plan is the sale of Palestine under the banner of prosperity in return for peace and with no land being returned.”
Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Sunday said Beirut will not be “tempted” by billions of dollars in cash at the expense of the rights of the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) told Channel 13 that Israel was “always in favor of developing the Palestinian economy.”
The plan, which the White House says is the most “ambitious” to date, calls for investing $27.5 billion in a range of verticals and infrastructure including power, high-tech, employment, tourism and water in the West Bank and Gaza. A further $9.1 billion, $7.4 billion and $6.3 billion is earmarked for Palestinians in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, respectively.