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US Middle East plan is ‘smoke and mirrors’, says PLO official Ashrawi

France 24 screen grab

White House senior advisor Jared Kushner is set to launch an international conference to push an investment plan he says will help the Palestinians. FRANCE 24 spoke with the PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi about why the Palestinians are not on board.

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Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, is convening the two-day international workshop in Bahrain, to promote his $50 billion economic formula, the first part of his two-step plan to bring peace to the Middle East.

The Palestinian leadership has rejected the process, and even US ally Saudi Arabia has indicated it has reservations.

“In Palestine now there is a total unanimity, full agreement, by all political parties from Hamas to Fattah to others, and by all components of Palestinian society, including the private sector, that this type of exercise is a circumvention of the real issues,” Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi told FRANCE 24.

Kushner’s proposal is based on hypotheticals and “fails to address the issue of the occupation and the imperative of Palestinian independence and freedom”, Ashrawi said.

Smoke and Mirrors

The process is “smoke and mirrors”, she said, and “tries to create the impression that the Americans are engaged, therefore buying more time for Israeli unilateral measures, expansionism on Palestinian land, and at the same time circumventing any attempts, preventing any attempts at a serious political engagement.”

When asked if the Palestinian leadership does their cause damage by eschewing the opportunity to have a seat at the table, Ashrawi insisted that there is no table to sit at.

“This is not reality. That’s the point,” she said, adding that Kushner’s plan consists of recycled proposals that have failed in the past. “The damage will be done if we go to such a charade, if we participate in such an act of grand deception and say it is a legitimate way of solving the issue.”

Kushner has declined to disclose any of the political details of his peace plan, which has been two years in the making.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AP)

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