Jared Kushner’s economic “peace” plan is an embarrassment

Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner speaks on stage as US ambassador to Israel David Friedman looks on during the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018 in Jerusalem. (photo: Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images)
The constituencies for peace do not currently exist and offering a mirage of $50 billion will not bridge the incredulity gap that has been created through decades of failure.

By Joel Braunold | Forward | Jun 24, 2019

Programs that were actually delivering economic wins for Israelis and Palestinians alike had not just been terminated, but their images were then used as a sales pitch for similar programs [in the Kushner plan] with higher price tags and no Palestinian buy-in.

In the fall of 2014, I sat around a table in the State Department with forty representatives of Israeli and Palestinian civil society and the peace team of then Secretary John Kerry. After failing to get his framework agreement released as the proximity talks between the parties had broken down, we were there to ask why there had been no focus on bottom up peace-building during the attempt.

The senior advisors told the room that there was no bandwidth or budget for a focus on civil society efforts, and the team had been laser focused on security arrangements and a $4 billion economic package.

I was thinking of that meeting this weekend when the White House released its economic pitch deck promising $50 billion investments as the economic aspect of the “ultimate deal.” Despite Jared Kushner and the whole team claiming they were rejecting failed frameworks, here was another massive-scale infrastructure push, only this time without any input from the Palestinian business community or governing authority.

Whereas Kerry had failed while everyone was in the room at a $4 billion push, here the Trump team was attempting a $50 billion push with none of the Palestinian beneficiaries willing to speak to them.

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