After White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner unveiled his highly anticipated plan for peace
in the Middle East during a two-day economic workshop in Bahrain, it was greeted with derision and exasperation by Arab leaders. The Palestinian leadership boycotted the event while a long list of commentators from Arab countries described the plan as "a colossal waste of time" and "dead on arrival".
New polling from the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research
has found that nine in ten Palestinians do not trust the goals of the plan. Instead of focusing on the deadlocked political situation, Kushner instead focused on economics, intending to invest $50 billion to fund 179 regional infrastructure projects over the coming decade. $27.6 billion would go to the West Bank and Gaza with the remainder going to Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.
The primary goal of the plan is to allow the Palestinian territories to better access international markets while simultaneously improving key infrastructure such as electricity, water and telecommunications. That would see Palestinian GDP double over the next ten years, generate an estimated one million jobs and halve the poverty rate. The U.S. and Israel would not be responsible for the funding - the Bahrain workshop aimed to raise capital from across the Arab world
. As the polling shows, however, an economic plan totally lacking a political dimension is certainly not being viewed as realistic by Palestinians.