WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner is due to officially unveil the first part of his Middle East peace plan at a conference in Bahrain next week, outlining a path for economies to grow fragile areas of the Palestinian territories and three neighboring Arab countries.
Here are some facts about the “economic vision,” taken from White House documents reviewed by Reuters and described exclusively by Kushner and colleagues, who hope to push their proposals forward at the June 25-26 meeting:
– Donor countries and investors would provide around $ 50 billion, including $ 28 billion for the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, $ 7.5 billion for Jordan, $ 9 billion for Egypt and $ 6 billion dollars for Lebanon. The White House hopes the rich Gulf countries will be among the biggest donors. Kushner told Reuters that the United States would also consider contributing.
– The money collected through this international effort would be placed in a newly created fund to stimulate the economies of the Palestinian areas and these three countries. It would be administered by a multinational development bank. The funds would be managed by an appointed board of directors which would determine the allocation based on project proposals.
– $ 15 billion of the total would come from subsidies, $ 25 billion from subsidized loans and about $ 11 billion would come from private capital.
– 179 economic development projects would be financed, including 147 for the West Bank and Gaza, 15 for Jordan, 12 for Egypt and 5 for Lebanon.
– The projects include infrastructure, water, electricity, telecommunications, tourism and medical facilities, among others.
– Tens of millions of dollars would be set aside for several projects designed to strengthen ties between the Gaza Strip and the Egyptian Sinai through services, infrastructure and trade.
– Power lines from Egypt to Gaza would be modernized and rehabilitated to increase the flow of electricity. It also offers to explore ways to better use existing Egyptian industrial zones to promote trade between Egypt, Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, but does not identify the zones.
– Other proposals for Egypt are to “support the expansion of the port and commercial incentives for the Egyptian shopping center near the Suez Canal”, as well as to develop the tourist facilities of the Sinai near the Red Sea.
– The plan presents Palestinian regions with “the potential to transform into a successful global tourism destination” and offers $ 950 million in grants and loans to develop the Palestinian tourism industry. It seeks to “repair and restore historical and religious sites and areas by the sea”.
– If implemented, the plan would double the Palestinian gross domestic product in 10 years, create more than a million jobs in the West Bank and Gaza, reduce single-digit unemployment and the poverty rate by 50% , according to documents and officials.
– Kushner takes a two-phase approach to Trump’s Middle East peace plan. The next phase will be the much more sensitive political part, which deals with some of the central issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The timing for this remains uncertain.
– Kushner is seeking feedback on his plan from the various finance ministers and representatives of investment institutions who will attend the workshop and assess any adjustments that may be needed to gain broader support.
Reporting by Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick, editing by Rosalba O’Brien