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'President Trump and America Have Not Given up on You': Peace and Prayer at Palestinian Summit in Bahrain

06-26-2019
Credit: Associated Press

President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner opened the "Peace to Prosperity" workshop on Tuesday evening in Bahrain. 

Thirty-nine countries from around the world are attending the joint US-Bahrain sponsored economic conference. It's the first phase roll-out of Trump's long-awaited Israeli Palestinian peace plan.

Kushner said the point of the summit is to stop repeating what didn't work in the past and look at the Israeli Palestinian conflict through a different lens.

"My direct message to the Palestinian people is that despite what those who have let you down in the past tell you, President Trump and America have not given up on you. This workshop is for you. The vision we developed and released, if executed correctly, will lead to a better future for the Palestinian people: a future of dignity, prosperity and opportunity," Kushner said. 

Kushner promoted the $50 billion "Peace to Prosperity" economic proposal released by the White House over the weekend. 

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 Palestinian leadership boycotted the event. Palestinians in the West Bank rioted and in Gaza they went on strike.  

Kushner told Palestinian leaders this is an opportunity they should not ignore. 

"This is about creating opportunity for the Palestinian people. This is about creating opportunity for the people throughout the Middle East. If implemented correctly and competently, the economic plan I will go through now will lead to growth and better lives," he told attendees. 

Israel is supporting the summit, but Israeli media joked it's like a wedding without the bride and groom. The Palestinians boycotted and Israel wasn't invited. However, in a rare move, Israeli media were allowed to enter the kingdom to cover the event.

In an even more unexpected moment, Israeli businessmen, reporters, a senior White House official, and five rabbis held morning prayers in the only officially declared synagogue in the Gulf, the Times of Israel reported. https://www.timesofisrael.com/hosting-peace-workshop-bahrain-opens-synag...

Bahrain used to be home to a robust Jewish community, but they left after the modern state of Israel was established in 1948. 

After the prayer service, the men, who wore traditional Jewish prayer shawls, broke out in dance and sang "Am Yisrael Chai" – the people of Israel live. 

The worshippers included: Jason Greenblatt, President Trump's special adviser for Middle East peace; interfaith activist Rabbi Marc Schneier; Middle East scholar David Makovsky; New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief David Halbfinger; and a number of Israeli businessmen and reporters attending the conference.

Greenblatt said he used the "special opportunity" to pray for peace. 

"This is an example of the future we can all build together," he added.

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