The Trump administration on Saturday unveiled a $50 billion Palestinian investment and infrastructure proposal intended to be the economic engine to power its much-anticipated but still unreleased "deal of the century" Middle East peace plan, the AP reports. The scheme, which calls for a mix of public and private financing and intends to create at least a million new jobs for Palestinians, was posted to the White House website ahead of a two-day conference in Bahrain that is being held amid heavy skepticism about its viability and outright opposition from the Palestinians. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday reiterated his rejection of the proposal and the conference. The so-called "Peace to Prosperity" workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday will also take place amid heightened regional tensions over Iran that threaten to overshadow its goals.
With no official participation from the two main protagonists, Israel and the Palestinians, and scant enthusiasm from others, continued uncertainty and strong doubts over the plan's political vision and the distraction of potential US-Iran conflict, expectations are decidedly low. President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner faces high hurdles in building support for the initiative. The 10-year plan calls for projects worth $27.5 billion in the West Bank and Gaza, and $9.1 billion, $7.4 billion, and $6.3 billion for Palestinians in Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon, respectively. The plan also calls for linking the West Bank and Gaza 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.
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