WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will announce its next steps in the Israeli-Palestinian arena "as soon as next week," according to Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
In a conversation with news reporters on Wednesday, Kushner said that the administration's the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan team, which he leads, is still working on the plan's political chapter, following the release of the economic chapter last month.
Kushner repeated that the plan will address all the core issues of the conflict, including the refugee question. He said that the Palestinian Authority made a "strategic mistake" when it boycotted the economic conference in Bahrain last month, and accused the Palestinian leadership of "hysteria." He added that the administration was still interested in working with the PA, and that President Trump "likes [Palestinian] President Abbas."
Kushner said that the peace plan will offer an "opportunity" for the Palestinians. The Trump administration and the PA have had no official contacts for the past 18 months, as a result of Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the American embassy in Israel into the city.
Last week, the U.S. hosted the Peace to Prosperity economic conference in Bahrain, with international diplomats, officials and business people in attendance.
The Trump administration wants to create an international fund that will invest $50 billion in the Palestinian and regional economy. Just over half of that sum would go to the Palestinian territories, and the rest to neighboring countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.
The “Peace to Prosperity” plan includes a long list of programs and projects that could be carried out with that sum, but doesn’t contain a detailed explanation of how that money will become available.
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The summit, which discussed the economic chapter of Washington's Middle East peace plan, didn't include official representatives of Israel or the PA.