White House unveils economic component of Middle East peace plan

The White House has released the economic portion of its long-promised Middle East peace plan, which calls for $50 billion in new investment to aid Palestinians and neighboring Arab states as well as the building of new infrastructure to connect the West Bank and Gaza.

The plan unveiled Saturday, called "Peace to Prosperity," calls for investment in infrastructure, private sector growth and regional development, among other areas, in order to "empower the Palestinian people to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society."

It's being touted by the Trump administration as "the most ambitious and comprehensive international effort for the Palestinian people to date."

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White House senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerDemocrat calls for investigation of possible 'inappropriate influence' by Trump in border wall contract Judge temporarily halts construction of a private border wall in Texas Mueller witness linked to Trump charged in scheme to illegally funnel money to Clinton campaign MORE, the architect of the Trump administration's peace plan, is expected to formally introduce the economic component at a conference in Bahrain next week. It will be implemented only if a political solution is reached between Palestinians, Israelis and other actors in the region.

According to the plan, around half of the $50 billion in aid would go to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza over a 10-year period, while the other half would be split among other Arab countries in the region. 

The plan also calls for boosting the tourism sector in Palestinian lands as well as providing better access to education and job training programs. 

Doubts have swirled around the administration's much-touted peace plan, which has been in the works nearly as long as President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE has been in office. Last Sunday, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt said the political portion of the peace plan could be delayed until November.

His comments came after the White House decided to delay the rollout, which had at one point been pitched by Kushner for June, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE failed to form a governing coalition.

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Trump himself also damped expectations for the plan after reports that Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoForeign Relations Democrat calls on Iran to release other American prisoners Documentary groups challenge Trump administration's vetting of immigrants' social media Iran releases American graduate student in prisoner swap MORE had cast doubt on it in a closed-door meeting later reported by The Washington Post.

“It may be rejected. Could be in the end, folks will say, ‘It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me,’ that is, ‘It’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out,’” Pompeo said, according to an audio recording obtained by the Post.

Asked by reporters to comment on his top diplomat's remarks, Trump said, "Look, we’re doing our best to help the Middle East to get a peace plan, and he [Pompeo] may be right. I mean, most people would say that."