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White House finally unveils ‘Peace to Prosperity’ economic plan for Palestinians

The White House released its proposal to boost the Palestinian economy by offering a $50 billion aid package that can only be implemented through an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

The 40-page plan, which Senior Adviser Jared Kushner will push in Manama next week, rests on three initiatives, according to the document — to “unleash the economic potential” of the Palestinians, “empower the Palestinians to realize their ambitions,” and “enhance Palestinian governance.”

The plan — formally dubbed “Peace to Prosperity” — said that the economic package, if implemented, would double the Palestinians’ gross domestic product, create more than one million jobs in the territories, reduce Palestinian unemployment to single digits (it was 31 percent in 2018, according to the World Bank), and cut the Palestinian poverty rate by 50%.

But while the proposal calls for a confluence of grants, low-interest loans and private investments over a span of 10 years, it does not promise any specific monies to be allocated from the US government or any specific corporations.

The White House envisions the plan being funded mostly by Arab states and wealthy private investors. Most of that money would go directly to the West Bank and Gaza, but some, according to the plan, would be funneled to neighboring countries like Jordan and Egypt.

The $50 billion would be divided through $26 billion in loans, $13.5 billion in grants and $11 billion in private investment.

The proposal does include a number of specific projects, including border crossing updates, power plant upgrades, infrastructure improvements to boost tourism, career counseling and job placement service, and re-building and modernizing Palestinian hospitals and health clinics.

It also calls for linking the West Bank and Gaza, which is currently ruled by the Hamas terror group,  with a modern transportation network, including high-speed rail service. Such ideas have been floated in the past in previous peace proposals but have run into Israeli security concerns.