Lebanon will not be 'tempted' by US billions at the expense of Palestinian rights

Lebanon will not be 'tempted' by US billions at the expense of Palestinian rights
2 min read
23 June, 2019
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri slammed the Trump administration's Palestine peace plan, which proposes a $50 billion investment for the region, saying Lebanon will not be 'tempted' by money.
Mural at the Burj al-Shamali camp for Palestinian refugees near the Lebanese city Tyre [AFP/Getty]
Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has criticised the Trump administration's $50 billion investment proposal, part of its Middle East peace plan, saying Beirut will not be "tempted" by money at the expense of Palestinians' rights.

Berri said Sunday that those who believe Beirut will be lured by billions of dollars at a time when Lebanon is passing through an economic crisis are "mistaken", according to state-run National News Agency.

The 10-year plan calls for projects worth $6.3 billion for Palestinians in Lebanon, as well as $27.5 billion in the West Bank and Gaza, $9.1 billion in Egypt and $7.4 billion in Jordan.

The large sums for Jordan and Lebanon, countries with substantial Palestinian refugee populations, are an apparent attempt to absorb refugees in these nations.

Unveiling details of its long-awaited peace initiative for the first on Saturday, President Donald Trump's administration said it was looking to attract unprecedented international investment to the Palestinians and to dramatically improve infrastructure and internal governance in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The plan, due to be presented in Bahrain next week, aims to raise more than $50 billion for the Palestinians and create one million jobs for them within a decade.

The conference on Tuesday and Wednesday in Manama, Bahrain, led by Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, is the opening of the US government's delayed peace effort, which officials say will later include a political component.

Read also: The Kushner Bahrain ordeal - Why are the Palestinians boycotting?

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday reiterated his staunch rejection of the peace plan, saying a political solution must come first.

"We have said that we will not attend the workshop in Bahrain," Abbas told the central committee of his Fatah faction in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

"The reason is that the economic situation should not be discussed before the political one. And as long as there is no political (solution), we do not deal with any economic issues," he added.

The White House cast the plan - to be discussed in more detail in Bahrain with finance chiefs of oil-rich Gulf Arab states - as historic.

"Peace to Prosperity represents the most ambitious and comprehensive international effort for the Palestinian people to date," the plan released by the White House said.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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