Photo Credit: Chris Price via Flickr
Downtown Manama, Bahrain

Senior Palestinian Authority officials dismissed the economic plan published Saturday night by the Trump administration, suggesting the “deal of the century” constitutes nothing more than a financial bribe without real cover by its intended backers, and an imaginary scheme that exists only in Jared Kushner’s head.

According to these officials, who spoke to Kan News Sunday morning, “No Arab country, not even in the Persian Gulf, will give money to the projects that appear in the plan, and we are not interested in them either, without a political solution. We do need financial support, but not this way. This plan will be buried very quickly under the elections in Israel and in the United States.”

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They could be right, but judging by the positive reaction to the Trump plan across the Western-affiliated Middle East, everybody who is anybody has already jumped on the American bandwagon.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said that an Egyptian delegation headed by the deputy finance minister will participate in the Manama, Bahrain “workshop” organized by Kushner under the title “Peace to Prosperity” on June 25 and 26.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday that Jordan had decided to participate in the Bahrain conference, while paying lip service to its obligatory adherence to the two-state solution as “the only way to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Israel’s participation in the conference, noting, “An important conference will be held soon in Bahrain and Israelis will participate in it, of course.” The PM is yet to specify which Israelis have been invited by the White House to attend.

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates confirmed their participation in the conference, and the White House announced the participation of Morocco. The UN is sending Deputy Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Jimmy McGoldrick to attend the conference.

A spokesperson for PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, confirmed in a press release Saturday that the Palestinian Authority would be absent from any US-sponsored meeting, in Bahrain or anywhere else, if only to prove that Washington is incapable of achieving anything without Ramallah’s cooperation.

Rudeineh stressed that “the representation of the Palestinian people is its president. The political position of any settlements or peace plans is based on a national and international consensus. The position of our people is clear and fixed and it will not be defeated by any schemes.”

PLO senior official Jibril Rajoub told Kan News that no one can impose any plan on the PA leadership.

“The economic track is not a solution,” he said. “Any plan that is not based on a political horizon and a political solution will achieve nothing. It all begins with the end of the occupation.”

Rajoub added that the billions offered by the Americans “have no significance in the shadow of the continuation of the occupation.”

Back in May, Ha’aretz predicted the Trump plan would essentially be a severance package to the PLO, in exchange for its giving up hope for an independent Palestinian State. The Kushner “Peace to Prosperity” proposal does not say anything about independence – but it does talk about restructuring democratic institutions to better serve the Arab population outside the green line. That part alone should signal Abbas et al the US view that the days of the PLO are almost over.

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