US Wraps up Two-day Middle East Economic Forum in Bahrain

June 27, 2019
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Over 20 countries and 350 business leaders worldwide participated in the US-led Middle East economic workshop.

Thursday, 27 June 2019 | The United States on Wednesday wrapped up a two-day workshop in Bahrain aimed at drumming up economic support for the Palestinian people as part of the American “Peace to Prosperity” plan, but not every nation in the Middle East is eager to see that goal achieved. In particular, the US was pointing the finger at Iran, a major sponsor of Palestinian terror organizations that oppose peace with Israel.

“If there is one nation in the Middle East that does not want this effort to succeed, that is afraid of our success, it’s the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said in a video posted to the State Department Twitter page.

“They would much rather see the Palestinian people trapped in an endless cycle of poverty, because they prioritize ideology over the welfare of not only the Palestinian people, but the Iranian people. We are going to continue to support and stand with the Palestinian people while the Iranian regime conducts its campaign of lies and disinformation.”

Hook characterized their work in Bahrain as having “successfully launched the economic plan for the Palestinian people,” and US Special Adviser to the President Jared Kushner concurred, saying in his own Twitter video they had a “very exciting two days.”

“The overall consensus is that this is a very executable plan, if we’re able to get a political solution, and if we have the right governance structure in place,” said Kushner on the White House Twitter page. “There is so much thirst and excitement about investing in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza and Jordan and Egypt from the global community, if we can create the right conditions for that to happen.”

Kushner noted that more than 20 countries and over 350 business leaders from around the world participated in the event, which focused on the American economic plan that calls for more than [US] $50 billion in investment over a span of ten years. According to the plan posted to the White House website, this would include not only economic support for the Palestinians, but also buildup in infrastructure, education and more.

Said Kushner, “This is a very important blueprint for the future of the Palestinian people and hopefully a step in the direction of making this a safer, more prosperous region, with tremendous opportunity for all the people.”

While the US has not yet released a full political peace plan for the Israelis and the Palestinians, the Palestinian leadership has already rejected the US plan without seeing it first.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday told visiting Chilean President Sebastián Piñera that such rejectionism is the wrong way to go. “Peace is the aspiration of the people of Israel. The gaps between us and the Palestinians are great, but we must begin with small steps of cooperation, and not to boycott or refuse plans that will improve our economic and social situation,” said Rivlin in comments released by his office.

“We must cooperate in every field where we can work together. That is the only way.”

Posted on June 27, 2019

Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on June 26, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Youtube/Euronews (in English)/Screenshot