After months of preparation and planning, the covers have been turned back on elements of the White House proposal to bring peace to Palestine and its long-suffering people. And certainly, on a superficial level, Jared Kushner’s unveiling of the administration’s plan to bring $50 billion (Dh183.6 billion) in investments to Palestine is certainly very enticing, attractive and appears to be an opportunity that cannot afford to be missed.
The proposal foresees $50 billion being invested in the West Bank and Occupied Territories with an overspill into both Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and a further $5 billion being spent on a transportation corridor between the West Bank and Gaza Strip — a massive injection of much-needed funding that would create more than a million jobs for Palestinians. And yes, who would not like to see such a level of investment?
The reality, though, is different. For sure, prosperity goes hand-in-hand with peace. But surer too is the fact that political rights brings lasting peace. And while the proposal is long on economic details, it is sketchy when it comes to the political realities. Yes, Palestinians need secure jobs — but they also need the rights and freedoms denied to them for generations.
The current proposal is mainly about economics. Perhaps that is why it falls short in putting a value on the true price of peace for the Palestinian people.
In truth, any credible plan cannot veer away from those legitimate Palestinian demands — there can be no going back on those key elements. The current proposal is mainly about economics. Perhaps that is why it falls short in putting a value on the true price of peace for the Palestinian people.
A full accounting of the values of justice and freedom for Palestine is need of the hour. That ledger must include a just two-state solution, where Palestinians have their own independent state, free from Israeli interference. And that bill of sale must include East Jerusalem as the capital of that Palestinian state.
If peace is to be bought, that price must include the right of return for all refugees — the Palestinian diaspora spread to the corners of the world or living in camps in Lebanon and Jordan. It must include too a full end to all construction of colonies on Palestinian lands, and it must include the full withdrawal of all occupation forces from those Palestinian lands. The price must include the release of all Palestinian political prisoners — and the full sharing of all natural resources from Palestine as it existed pre-1948. That is the true price of peace.