Trump's Mideast peace plan met by Palestinians with heavy skepticism

US Navy the USS Abraham Lincoln sails in the Arabian Sea near the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge

Trump's Mideast peace plan met by Palestinians with heavy skepticism

Jared Kushner, Senior Adviser to President Donald Trump, praised Bahrain on Sunday for hosting the workshop.

The conference will bring together government and business leaders to help jump-start the economic portion of the broader U.S. peace initiative, which is also expected to include proposals for resolving thorny political issues at the heart of the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The goal, USA officials say, is to reform the Palestinian economy so that it can support itself as a functioning state.

The plan will discuss four major components the senior administration official said: infrastructure, industry, empowering and investing in people, and governance reforms "to make the area as investible as possible".

The participants in the June 25-26 conference in Manama, the first phase of the peace plan's rollout, are expected to include representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including some finance ministers, the administration official said.

"Any Palestinian who would take part would be nothing but a collaborator for the Americans and Israel", he said.

USA officials had said earlier the peace plan would be rolled out after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends in early June.

The Palestinians, who have boycotted the Trump administration since it recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in late 2017, have shown little interest in discussing a plan that they anticipate will fall far short of their core demands.

"The Cabinet wasn't consulted about the reported workshop, neither over the content, nor the outcome or timing", Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh added.

U.S. officials said the conference would include representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as some finance ministers.

US officials had said earlier the peace plan would be rolled out after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which ends in early June.

The US peace plan is expected to feature proposals for regional economic development that would include Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

"There's a tremendous amount of opportunity, the world is willing to step up and work on this", the official said. The Trump administration's focus on economy first "obscures the fact that the Palestinian economy is heavily shaped by Israel's occupation and settler colonial enterprise". The plan is likely to call for billions of dollars in financial backing for Palestinians, mostly from oil-rich Gulf states, according to people informed about the discussions.

Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies it would not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian concerns.

Washington has yet to commit to an exact timetable on political aspects of the plan. US officials see this as key to getting both the Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiating table to they can hash out specific details of future statehood.

Finance ministers, but not foreign ministers, will be invited along with delegations of business leaders.

The summit is meant to drum up investment in Gaza and the occupied West Bank but will avoid discussing even basic political issues like whether the U.S. envisions an independent Palestinian state. Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, envoy of global negotiations, have been leading efforts to write the plan, but so far, there's been no participation from the Palestinians.

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