In Bahrain, Gaza Is pitched as a “hot IPO” — Palestinians aren’t buying it

Bahrain News Agency, via Associated Press)
The economic plan itself was conspicuous in its omission of any mention of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

By David Halbfinger | The New York Times | Jun 26, 2019

The point is not talking about pie-in-the-sky projects. These projects, if you take the word ‘Palestinian’ out of them, any developing country can do well. Some of them have been talked about for 25 years now. Why haven’t they materialized? What’s stopping them? The Israeli military occupation. It’s the elephant they left out of the circus when they went to Bahrain.
— Palestinian-American business consultant Sam Bahour

Judged on its own terms, the White House-led conference on improving the lives of Palestinians, staged this week in Bahrain as the first step toward a long-promised American peace plan, was a smashing success.

It proved that the Israel-Palestinian conflict “actually is a solvable problem, economically,” Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, declared proudly — though that proposition was never actually in doubt.

It put the conflict back near the top of the international agenda, at least for a day and a half. And it may have also created a powerful new constituency for a resolution, by bringing together billionaire fund managers and the heads of banks and multinational corporations like AT&T, who seemed to be grappling with the subject for the first time.

Investors expressed such excitement about someday pouring money into projects on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “it’s going to be like a hot I.P.O.”

But if the goal of the two-day conference was to persuade Palestinians to give the Trump administration’s approach to solving the conflict the benefit of the doubt, there were few signs of that.

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