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Monday, 18 January 2021

U.S. launches Mideast peace plan amid skepticism

Duration: 02:07s 0 shares 1 views
U.S. launches Mideast peace plan amid skepticism
U.S. launches Mideast peace plan amid skepticism

The Trump administration launches the first part of its Middle East peace plan -- an economic blueprint.

But politics is absent, and so are the Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Lucy Fielder reports.

The Trump administration has launched the first part of its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, but two sides are glaringly absent from the party.

That is, Israel and the Palestinians.

Jared Kushner -- the U.S. president's son-in-law and advisor -- is at the helm of the two-day meeting designed to spur massive investment to boost the economy for Palestinians.

This burning casket, in the West Bank, bears the words "the deal of the century: still-born".

Neither Israeli nor Palestinian leaders are attending the curtain-raising in Bahrain.

Expectations are low.

The Arab governments who are supposed to bankroll the plan have strong misgivings as well.

For a start, this is just the economic bit, but any plans for a political resolution remain secret.

And that will make it tough for anyone to sign up right now.

President Donald Trump himself concedes the economic plan can only be implemented if a political solution is reached.

Something that has thwarted generations of international peace efforts.

And includes long-standing and complex issues such as Palestinian demands for statehood on territory seized by Israel in 1967, and the right of return for refugees.

Kushner said Tuesday that this deal will be closer to Israel's position than the Arab peace initiative -- which has been the Arab consensus on those issues since 2002.

Israel says it's open to the plan and will hear out the Trump administration.

The Palestinians, though, are showing no sign of stopping their boycott of the White House -- spurred in part by Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, fuelling furious accusations of pro-Israel bias.

It's also not clear if the Trump team plans to jettison the "two-state solution" -- the backbone of every major peace proposal for decades.

It has repeatedly refused to commit to it.

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