Kushner’s economic plan for Mideast amounts to Balfour Declaration II, Palestinians say


The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has dismissed US President Donald Trump’s economic vision as part of the proposal for “peace” between  Israeli and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century,” describing it as a new version of the Balfour Declaration.

“This project does not talk about the economy of the Palestinian state and its components, but tries to whitewash the occupation and settlement,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added, “The Trump team is trying to restrict the Palestinian economy with the chains of occupation while depriving it of any opportunity to prosper and develop as an independent state economy.

This [prosperity] cannot happen under occupation, settlements, the theft of the Palestinian land and the takeover of the Palestinian natural resources.”

“Day after day, the reality of the American intentions and attitudes against the Palestinian people and their rights unfolds in what can be called the obnoxious Trump Declaration or the Balfour Declaration II, which denies the existence of the Palestinian people,” the ministry underlined.

The Balfour Declaration, which resulted in a significant upheaval in the lives of Palestinians, was issued on November 2, 1917. It is regarded as one of the most controversial and contested documents in the modern history of the Arab world.

The declaration turned the Zionist aim of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine into a reality, when Britain publicly pledged to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” there.

The statement noted, “[America] is dealing with the Palestinian people as a population group that was found by accident in this place that has been given by Trump to the Israelis.”

“The Trump administration is reproducing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict using new templates and does not seek to solve it in any way. The problem of this type of thinking is its theoretical nature and its complete alienation from reality,” it concluded.

The $50 billion so-called “peace to prosperity” plan, set to be presented by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner at a US-led workshop in Bahrain on June 25-26, envisions a global investment fund to purportedly lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies.

According to Kushner, the 10-year plan “would create a million jobs in the West Bank and Gaza.”

“It would take their unemployment rate from about 30 percent to the single digits,” he said. “It would reduce their poverty rate by half, if it’s implemented correctly.”

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, has strongly condemned Kushner’s plan.

“First, lift the siege of Gaza, stop the Israeli theft of our land, resources and funds, give us our freedom of movement and control over our borders, airspace, territorial waters etc,” she said in a post on her Twitter page.

Ashrawi added, “Then, watch us build a vibrant prosperous economy as a free and sovereign people.”

Ismail Rudwan, a spokesman for Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement, also rejected Kushner’s proposals.

“We reject the ‘deal of the century’ and all its dimensions, the economic, the political and the security dimensions,” Rudwan told Reuters news agency.

“The issue of our Palestinian people is a nationalistic issue; it is the issue of a people who are seeking to be free from occupation. Palestine isn’t for sale, and it is not an issue for bargaining. Palestine is a sacred land and there is no option for the occupation, except to leave,” he pointed out.

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