(JNS.org) Amid the Obama
administration’s plans to supplement its diplomatic
efforts in the Middle East with an economic initiative, Palestinians are not
buying what the U.S. is selling, the Wall
Street Journal reported.
According to the
newspaper, the Obama administration initiative–whose partners will include the
U.S. Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corp., the U.S. Agency
for International Development, and private U.S. companies–plans to combine U.S.
investment in economic improvements for the Palestinians with “a focus on
allowing greater freedom of movement by Palestinians throughout the West Bank
and an easing of Israeli restrictions on business.” Additionally, the
administration is “betting that economic improvements will encourage
Palestinians to view peace talks positively,” the report said.
“Economic growth will help us be able to provide…
greater confidence about moving forward [in the peace process],” Secretary of
State John Kerry said during his visit to Israel this week. “This is not in
lieu of, or an alternative, to the political track.”
however, so far are skeptical about the proposed economic track. Saad
Khatib, the former secretary-general of the Palestinian Federation of
Industries, called the plan a “Band-Aid solution on a cancer.”
“If we really want
Palestinian to believe this is assistance that is aimed at improving their
life, then is has to be coupled with a political will to ensure that they will
benefit from it,” Khatib said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
a Palestinian official close to the negotiations told the Wall Street Journal, “John Kerry can say whatever he wants. There
is no optimism Netanyahu is going to do anything.”