Title: Ken’s Thought of the Week: The U.S. “Peace to Prosperity Plan” is premature
The Trump Administration rolled out a new fresh and bold Middle East vision at its big regional conference in Bahrain, entitled the “Peace to Prosperity” plan.
The plan, which is estimated to cost $50 billion, is logical and rational, with numerous good economic, educational, healthcare, and governance ideas, designed for a perfect world.
According to this plan, which is being publicly spearheaded by Trump son-in-law and special adviser Jared Kushner, approximately half of the $50 billion would go to the Arabs in Judea-Samaria (the “West Bank”) and Gaza, while the other half would be invested in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Gaza. Because the political aspects are inter-related but controversial, they will be discussed within several months. Here is Kushner’s full address in Bahrain describing the plan:
And here is Kushner’s interview, after the conference, with Reuters:
With a proposal to invest about $50 billion in the Middle East, Jared Kushner tells @ Reuters that if the 10-year plan is implemented correctly, it will reduce poverty and unemployment rates significantly https://t.co/VZeVNrVdl9 pic.twitter.com/J9GkTBPl6x
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) June 22, 2019
In response to the Palestinians’ refusal to even attend the Bahrain conference, Kushner clearly articulated his and President Trump’s grave disappointment, and encouraged them to rethink their stance:
“The door is always open for the Palestinian leadership. If they stop saying crazy things and engage, they will see there is an opportunity here. We respect President Abbas and we believe he wants to make peace, and we want to give him the opportunity to try and do it.”
Unfortunately, there are numerous downsides to the plan, in spite of the potential funding and good intentions:
(1) Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (PA) governments are totally separate mini-enclaves. Gaza is governed by the religious terror organization Hamas, and about 40% of the West Bank by the PA, a more secular quasi- national terror organization (note: PA president Abbas recently admitted, on record, that all anti-Israel terrorism is sponsored and funded by the PA).
(2) The enemy states surrounding Israel are determined to upset and interfere in either this new economic plan, or in future political plans.
(3) Nations in the region that are declared or de facto enemies of America will do their best to thwart plans for reconciliation between Israel and its neighbors. And no amount of money thrown at this problem will have a chance of achieving peace, until that problem is openly addressed, acknowledged, and resolved.
The Trump Administration is essentially offering a type of Marshall Plan for the Middle East. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the U.S. helped to rebuild the nations that declared war on it, Germany and Japan, only after they had been defeated in World War II, unconditionally surrendered, in writing, and their war-making ability had been utterly destroyed.
In the Middle East, however, a plan such as that which the Trump administration now proposes could conceivably have a chance of working only after the belligerent actors in the region — primarily the PA, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the mullahs in Iran — either declare, and prove, that they will stop waging war against peace, or are rendered incapable of continuing to wage this war. (For those who don’t know the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, is the parent organization that spawned every major Islamist terror group, including ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, among many others. It is so subversive and violent that it’s been outlawed in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Learn more here; an introductory video is below.)
All people of good will hope they choose the former option. But with Iran on the cusp of getting the nuclear weapons that it claims it will use to destroy both Israel (“The Little Satan”) and the U.S. (“The Great Satan”), and its and the MB’s worldwide terrorist footprint growing by the day, the time is running down, before the U.S. and its allies will be left with fewer and fewer options to achieve a peaceful resolution to the Middle East conflicts, and the threat it poses to the civilized world.
This approach may not prove popular in the highbrow salons of Europe or Washington, DC, but this is the only practical way forward, that has a chance of leading to actual, sustainable peace in the Middle East.