Trump should scrap his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and focus on Gaza

Palestinians in Gaza City protest against the US-sponsored Middle East economic conference in Bahrain on Jun 26. (photo: Mohammed Abed / AFP / Getty Images)
The White House’s fantasy proposal is bound to fail.

By Hady Amr, Ilan Goldenberg and Natan Sachs | Foreign Policy | Jun 28, 2019

If the Trump administration wants to help Palestinians and Israelis, it should shelve its fantasy plan, which the Palestinian leadership has already rejected, and instead focus on something much more tangible — addressing the ongoing Gaza-Israel conflict.

Over the weekend, the White House released its multibillion-dollar plan for the Palestinian economy as part of President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century,” which his administration has billed as a broader program for Middle East peace. Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law, senior advisor, and point person on Israeli-Palestinian issues — spent two days in Bahrain this week at a White House-led conference trying to generate international support for this approach.

The conference faced tremendous challenges: With the United States and Iran on the brink of a potential conflict, convening in Bahrain, which hosts a major US naval base, cast the event in the shadow of US-Iran tensions. No Palestinian government officials attended, and nearly all Palestinian businesspeople skipped the event as well because the Trump administration has alienated them. And the Israeli government was largely absorbed with a new round of elections set for September. The event did not seem to generate much interest in Trump’s plan or bring the sides even an inch closer to anything resembling a deal.

As for the plan itself, it outlines a constructive vision for a future Palestinian state but one that is detached from today’s realities. Israel still controls the economic life of the Palestinian territories, and little progress is possible without its support, yet remarkably the plan calls on Israel to do nothing at all to help the Trump team’s vision come into being.

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