Watch: Kushner opens controversial workshop on Middle East peace amid Palestinian boycott

Watch: Kushner opens controversial workshop on Middle East peace amid Palestinian boycott
By Louise Miner with REUTERS, AP, UER
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Jared Kushner opens 'peace to prosperity workshop' in Bahrain.


President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner was the opening speaker at a controversial peace conference in Bahrain on Tuesday.

He was promoting the first stage of a US-backed Middle East peace plan.

Kushner has been the main driver of the €43 billion euro package, which aims to encourage investment in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Kushner talked about creating better lives for Palestinians while discussing how to create investment in the region.

"Today is not about the political issues. We'll get to those at the right time," Kushner said, although he admitted that without a political resolution to the conflict, economic prosperity would not be possible.

"Some people have mockingly called this effort 'the deal of the century'," Kushner said, adding: "This effort is better referred to as the opportunity of the century".

Neither the Israeli nor Palestinian governments are attending the curtain-raising event in Manama and many Palestinian business leaders said they would boycott it.

The second part of the plan, dealing with tougher political issues, will be released "at a later time," Kushner said.

Trump spoke about the peace plan after reporters asked questions in the White House Oval Office.

"Well, we want to get support and we have to get economic support because the Palestinians don`t have money, and we have to help the Palestinians with some money because they don`t have it," Trump said.


Palestinian refugees in Ain-el-Hilweh camp protested in Lebanon, and there were demonstrations against the peace plan outside the United Nations headquarters.

Protesters took to the streets in the West Bank and Gaza, condemning the US and Israel.

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
A Palestinian woman gestures as she chants during a protest against Bahrain's workshop for U.S. Middle East peace plan, in Gaza CityREUTERS/Mohammed Salem

'Half baked plan'

Euronews spoke to Professor Yossi Mekelberg from Regent's University in London, who said. "If Israwl is going for a new election, By the time Israel might form a coalition, (the) United States is starting its own election year and the division between Gaza and the West Bank — how is all this going to be implemented?

"Who is going to be the guardians of the implementation of this? This is at best not even a half-baked plan."

Watch the interview with Professor Mekelberg by clicking on the player above.

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