White House adviser Jared Kushner outlined a new $50 billion plan to help the Palestinian and other Arab economies as part of the "Peace To Prosperity" Middle East peace plan. Kushner is set to outline the plan in Bahrain next week, but the Palestinians plan to boycott the event.
"The plan would invest about $50 billion in the region, and create a million jobs in the West Bank and Gaza," Kushner told Reuters Television on Saturday. "It would reduce their poverty rate by half if it is implemented correctly. It is a ten-year plan. It would double their GDP."
"More than half" of the $50 billion will go to the West Bank and Gaza, he said, mentioning a $5 billion plan to link the two regions by road and rail. "We also want to stimulate Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon. If we can get that whole region starting to lift... instead of bullets, munitions, and war, I think it will lead to a big increase in quality of life in the area."
"Our intention wasn't to set out to do that, though a lot of people who have reviewed it says it does resemble the Marshall Plan," Kushner said. "I've been reading more about the Marshall plan, and one of the things they did successfully was they didn't just give aid, they infused money into the private sector and created an environment where businesses can thrive, capital can be invested. This is a similar notion, where we're not just giving people fish like we've been doing for a long time, we're teaching them to fish. We're buying them fishing rods, helping them become something much more sustainable."
"The whole notion here is that we want people to agree on the plan and then we’ll have a discussion with people to see who is interested in potentially doing what," Kushner said.
“I laugh when they attack this as the ‘Deal of the Century’,” Kushner said of Palestinian leaders who have dismissed his plan as an attempt to buy off their aspirations for statehood. “This is going to be the ‘Opportunity of the Century’ if they have the courage to pursue it.”
Read more about it via Reuters.