NABLUS, West Bank — Jared Kushner’s long-awaited “Peace to Prosperity” plan was meant to offer a way out of economic strife for Palestinians. But instead, it’s been met with little interest on either side of the separation wall.
Kushner laid out his vision for phase one of the administration's peace plan this week in Bahrain. It calls for raising $28 billion in investment in the Palestinian territories, and billions more for neighboring Egypt and Jordan. But it fails to consider any of the famously intractable political questions, including whether there can be a two-state solution, and the status of Jerusalem.
Even Palestinians who’d normally welcome investment into their economy, like 20-year old chocolate factory worker Mohammed Hayek, think the plan is fatally flawed. “Israel has never seen anything that’s good for Palestinians and agreed to it,” Hayek told VICE News at a protest against the Bahrain conference in Ramallah this week, “That’s a point you just need to understand 100 percent.”
The response from the Palestinian business community hasn't been much better. Most Palestinian business owners invited to the conference refused to attend, including Hayek’s boss, Mazen Sinokrot, head of the largest family-owned business in the West Bank.
“You cannot tell me what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine. Let's talk.” Sinokrot said, “To talk about a piecemeal approach with some cosmetic surgery here and then this will not give stability. This will not get prosperity. This will not give life to a Palestinian independent state.”
Filmed by Phil Pendlebury. Reporting contributions from Oren Rosenfeld and Maral Qutteineh.