US peace plan aims to raise $50 bn, double Palestinian GDP

Washington (AFP) –


The United States said Saturday that its Middle East peace plan to be presented next week in Bahrain aims to raise more than $50 billion for the Palestinians and double their GDP within a decade.

Unveiling details for the first time, President Donald Trump's administration said the initiative will look at reforming the Palestinian economy and linking it to those of its neighbors, seeking to generate major international investment.

The conference Tuesday and Wednesday in Bahrain, led by Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, is the opening of a long-awaited Middle East peace initiative that officials say will later include a political component.

But the Palestinian Authority is boycotting the so-called Peace to Prosperity workshop, charging that the unabashedly pro-Israel Trump is seeking to buy off the Palestinians and deprive them of an independent state.

The White House cast the plan -- to be discussed in more detail in Bahrain with finance chiefs of oil-rich Gulf Arab states -- as historic.

"Peace to Prosperity represents the most ambitious and comprehensive international effort for the Palestinian people to date," the White House said in the economic plan.

"It has the ability to fundamentally transform the West Bank and Gaza and to open a new chapter in Palestinian history -- one defined, not by adversity and loss, but by freedom and dignity," it said.

It said that the plan aimed to raise more than $50 billion over the next decade, with a goal of more than doubling Palestinian Gross Domestic Product.

The White House said the initiative had the power to transform the troubled Palestinian economy by creating more than one million jobs -- bringing the unemployment rate down to the single digits, in line with developed economies.

In a step likely to outrage Palestinian leaders, it said that money would be administered by a multinational development bank as a way to ensure better governance and prevent corruption.