04:45 GMT30 October 2020
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    TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - The White House rolled out an economic-incentives package dubbed "Peace to Prosperity" that it hopes will attract $50 billion in new investment in the West Bank, Gaza and neighboring countries. The project is part of US President Donald Trump’s "deal of the century" to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    According to Arab media reports, the US plan asks that Palestinians abandon territories seized by Israel in 1967 in exchange for economic preferences and financial assistance from Arab monarchies to create the Palestinian state, part of which would be located on the Sinai Peninsula.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he would consider whatever the United States suggested in its new initiative for Middle East peace.

    "We’ll hear the American proposition, hear it fairly and with openness. I cannot understand how the Palestinians, before they even heard the plan rejected it outright. That’s not the way to proceed", he said.

    Netanyahu toured the Jordan Valley with the visiting US national security adviser, John Bolton, stating that an Israeli presence in the valley guaranteed peace and security.

    "For those who say that for peace to be established Israel has to leave the Jordan Valley, I’ll say that’s not going to bring peace... Under any peace agreement, our position will be that Israel’s presence should continue here for Israel’s security and for the security of all", the prime minister said.

    Bolton assured the Israeli lawmaker that Trump would take Israel's concerns into account while proceeding with peace efforts. Bolton suggested that more Americans would understand the valley’s significance for Israel's security if they visited the area and studied the terrain.

    The economic part of the "Peace to Prosperity" plan offers options on how to double Palestinians' gross domestic product over a 10-year period, create over a million of jobs, and reduce the poverty rate by 50 percent, according to media reports.

    Tensions between Israel and Palestinians have been escalating over the years. Palestinians seek to create an independent state in the West Bank and the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territories it occupied after the Six-Day War in 1967.

    As a result of the war, Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. The Sinai Peninsula was subsequently returned to Egypt after the two sides signed a peace treaty in 1979.

    The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity and continues to build settlements in occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.

    The situation worsened in May 2018 after the Trump administration relocated the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the holy city as the Israeli capital. Palestinians afterward rejected Washington’s unilateral mediation efforts in the peace process.

    Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said he would not accept any US mediation in the conflict after Washington revealed its bias by unilaterally moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner is reportedly expected to reveal the "Peace to Prosperity" plan on 25-26 June during a US-led conference in Manama, Bahrain.

    Earlier, representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas reportedly rejected Kushner’s plan.


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