News / Middle East

Kerry Hopeful on Palestinian Economic Plan

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) is joined by Israeli President Shimon Peres (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, May 26, 2013.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) is joined by Israeli President Shimon Peres (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, May 26, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) is joined by Israeli President Shimon Peres (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, May 26, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) is joined by Israeli President Shimon Peres (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, May 26, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says global business leaders are moving to invest as much as $4 billion in the Palestinian economy, to support efforts to find a comprehensive peace plan with Israel.

Secretary Kerry says the initiative for private sector investments in tourism, construction, light manufacturing, energy, agriculture, and information and communications technology already is producing "stunning" results.

He told a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Jordan that the investments could increase the Palestinian gross domestic product by 50 percent in the next three years, cutting unemployment from 21 percent to as low as 8 percent, with big gains in agriculture and home construction.

Kerry said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas both support the plan because Palestinians will become more self-sufficient as the investment climate improves. "Just as people find the dignity in a good job, a nation finds pride by functioning and growing an economy that can stand on its own two feet. This will help build the future," he said.

At the economic forum on the Dead Sea, Israeli President Shimon Peres said the investment plan complements U.S. efforts to jumpstart talks toward a two-state solution.

"Secretary Kerry brings with him an impressive momentum and desire to contribute to the completion of the peace process. It will be matched with an imaginative economic plan, not instead of the political plan, but as I understand it, in addition to it," he said.

President Abbas said it comes at a critical moment for Palestinians. "The new generation is starting to lose their confidence in the two-state solution because what they see on the ground makes them truly have no hope in the future," he said.

Kerry spent much of the past week in the Middle East meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials. He says it is time for some tough decisions on both sides. "If we don't eagerly grab this moment, we will condemn ourselves to future conflict. We are staring down a dangerous path filled with potential violence with a capacity to harden divisions, increase instability," he said.

Kerry says that path would be haunted by violent extremists rushing to fill the vacuum of failed leadership. "If we make the wrong choices or no choices at all, dangerous people will come to possess more of the world's most dangerous weapons," he said.

The investment plan is in conjunction with the so-called Middle East Quartet of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia which is currently led by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Following the Dead Sea forum, Kerry and Blair had a working dinner with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and U.S. investor Tim Collins, who is a personal friend of Kerry.

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Comment Sorting
by: Kafantaris from: USA
May 26, 2013 11:42 PM
Kerry has it right. The 4 billion investment plan is just what is needed for Palestine.
Economic determinism is still a reliable yardstick to sort out history.
Though we do not live by bread alone, we cannot live without bread.
Economic forces do shape our lives and the lives of our communities -- far more than politics or prevailing beliefs.

by: musawi melake
May 26, 2013 3:21 PM
Certainly, there'll be a time when peace is inevitable when the neighbouring regimes are toppled and a people friendly states are established to serve the people of their respective countries than the corrupt leaders and thereby the enemies of the Arabs, like the case in 1948, when the Jordanians colluded with the Jews to stay away from engagement in return for the West-Bank, which was later captured by the untrustworthy Jews were far numerous compared to entire Arab army. And they had to go in for a pact with the Jordanians as the latter were the only force that could negate whatever Jews gained. So, peace as Mr. Peres put it, is only possible when the monarchies and other dynasties are replaced with actors stand up to Western exploits
In Response

by: Samy
May 27, 2013 1:33 AM
You are right Mr. Musawi. Palestinian leadership cannot be trusted to the full extent of the law. Mr. Arafat has pocketed his hungry constituents funds that could have made them prosperous. Sorry for spelling, primitave device made in Israel but I rely on it everyday. Not one. Busline did Mr. Arafat make. Why invest all these bilions into the same plundering hands??

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