JERUSALEM, Israel - The White House on Saturday released a $50 billion dollar economic proposal aimed at empowering the Palestinian people "to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society."
The "Peace to Prosperity" proposal is a 10-year plan that focuses on three pillars: improving the Palestinian economy, the Palestinian people, and the Palestinian government.
The ambitious proposal will be presented by White House senior advisor Jared Kushner at an economic forum with world leaders in Manama, Bahrain on Tuesday and Wednesday. The "Prosperity to Peace" proposal follows two years of deliberations and is the first part of the Trump Administration's long-awaited "Deal of the Century" peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"The whole notion here is that we want people to agree on the plan and then we'll have a discussion with people to see who is interested in potentially doing what," Kushner told Reuters Television.
Palestinian leaders dismissed the economic plan, saying they want a political solution to the conflict.
"Before anything, there must be a political solution," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said during a press briefing Saturday.
Earlier this year, Palestinian leaders said they would not attend the conference or normalize relations with Israel and the United States.
"We will not accept this, and we will not attend Manama – and we do not encourage anyone to go. We are confident that the conference will not be successful," Abbas said, adding that he does not trust the US to be a mediator of peace for Israelis and Palestinians.
Meanwhile, Palestinian factions are protesting the Bahrain conference by calling for three days of protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Kushner acknowledged that "you can't push the economic plan forward without resolving the political issues as well."
But he said the Trump administration will "address that at a later time" when his team unveils the second stage of the peace plan no earlier than November.
Kushner also urged the Palestinian leaders to consider the economic prosperity the proposal could bring.
"I laugh when they attack this as the 'Deal of the Century'," Kushner said. "This is going to be the 'Opportunity of the Century' if they have the courage to pursue it."
The deal includes opening up the West Bank and Gaza to regional and global markets through investments, improving transportation, and building essential infrastructure. The plan hopes to connect markets in the West Bank and Gaza with trading partners like Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon.
The proposal also focuses on expanding the cultural, educational, and health care opportunities of the Palestinian people.
Lastly, the deal provides a pathway for reforms within the Palestinian government that increase accountability.
Kushner says the economic proposal is similar to the Marshall Plan, which was introduced to rebuild Western Europe after World War II.
He hopes that the Saudis and Gulf states will like the plan and convince the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he would consider Trump's peace plan "fairly" and with "openness."