May 19, 2019

White House launching Israeli-Palestinian peace plan next month in Bahrain

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The White House is planning to launch the economic part of the Trump administration Israeli-Palestinian peace plan in mid-June and will hold a special international workshop on Bahrain on June 25–26 to discuss the implementation of the economic plan.

What's next: A senior White House official said the Trump peace team led by senior adviser Jared Kushner has decided to launch the peace plan in two phases. Phase 1: Publish a plan to boost the Palestinian economy. Phase 2: Publish the political plan, which will deal with core issues like borders and Jerusalem. 

CNN reported details of the Bahrain summit earlier Sunday.

Details: The U.S. delegation to the workshop in Bahrain will be headed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Kushner.

  • The Trump administration has decided to invite finance ministers, not foreign ministers, because it will deal with the economic plan and not with the political part of the plan. 
  • A senior U.S. official said many business executives from big companies around the world will also participate in the workshop to discuss possible investments in the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Several weeks ago Kushner met a group of 25 business executives at the Milken Conference in Los Angeles to get them onboard. 

Israel will also be invited to the workshop in Bahrain and is expected to be represented by the finance minister in the new government, which is being formed right now. It is likely to be current Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. Israel and Bahrain don't have formal diplomatic relations, and a ministerial delegation from Israel in Bahrain will be a big step in normalizing relations. 

What they're saying:

  • Kushner: "Economic progress can only be achieved with a solid economic vision and if the core political issues are resolved. We look forward to presenting our vision on ways to bridge the core political issues very soon."
  • Mnuchin: “I look forward to these important discussions about a vision that will offer Palestinians exciting new opportunities to realize their full potential."

Between the lines: The Palestinian Authority, which is boycotting the Trump administration, is not expected to participate in the workshop. But a senior U.S. official said the White House invited a group of Palestinian businessmen and is expecting some of them to attend. 

  • A senior U.S. official said that the political part of the peace plan will be released at a later stage and added: "This is not economic peace only. The economic plan is not instead of the political plan. They both go hand in hand, but we decided to release it in two phases so people will have an easier time digesting it."

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