Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday rejected the economic plan and the US peace effort, which is led by US President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner. The approach toward reviving the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process was criticized by the Palestinians on Saturday.
The plan involves a $50 billion investment into Palestinian territories and neighbouring Arab state economies to upgrade infrastructure, enhance tourism and develop an online electronic governmental system, among other goals. Some of the projects would be in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, where investments could benefit Palestinians living in adjacent Gaza, a crowded and impoverished coastal enclave.
"Mistaken are those who think that waving billions of dollars might tempt Lebanon... to bow or bargain over its constant and nonnegotiable principles, topped by the rejection of (refugee) naturalization, which we will resist with our Palestinian brothers through all legitimate resistance means", the Speaker added.
If implemented, Peace to Prosperity will empower the Palestinian people to build the society that they have aspired to establish for generations.
He reaffirmed that the two-state solution that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the June, 4,1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital is the only way to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and achieve regional peace. But both are in rare agreement over the Trump administration.
"The economic situation should not be discussed before the political one", Abbas said on Saturday.
"This is going to be the "Opportunity of the Century" if they have the courage to pursue it", Kushner told the Reuters news agency.
"This is a nice snow job", said Sam Bahour, a Ramallah-based Palestinian-American business consultant and chair of the board of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy. The entirety of the U.S. peace plan for the Middle East will be presented later next week. Their presence, some U.S. officials say privately, appears intended in part to curry favour with Trump as he takes a hard line against Iran, those countries' regional arch-foe.
The White House said it decided against inviting the Israeli government because the Palestinian Authority would not be there, making do instead with a small Israeli business delegation. "This conference was born dead just like the deal of the century", he said.
"This plan will be buried very quickly under the elections in Israel and in the United States".
Sufian Qudah, a spokesman for Jordan's Foreign Ministry, said that while Jordan would attend the conference, "no economic proposal can replace a political settlement to the conflict which must be resolved according to the two-state solution".
"This is completely out of sequence because the Israeli-Palestinian issue is primarily driven by historical wounds and overlapping claims to land and sacred space", said Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East negotiator for Republican and Democratic administrations.