Hamas condemns Bahrain minister's comments on Israel

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House advisor Jared Kushner at the workshop on Palestinian economic prospects in Bahrain

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House advisor Jared Kushner at the workshop on Palestinian economic prospects in Bahrain

US President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, called his economic plan for the Palestinian people "very ambitious" and the feedback "phenomenal".

Kushner, speaking at a conference in Bahrain, defended the proposal as the foundation of any eventual peace plan. Its convening was met with a general strike in the Gaza Strip and demonstrations in various parts of the West Bank, including a march by 3,000 in Nablus.

He called on all members of the global community to unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state.

Others said the plan could not succeed without the Palestinians having rights and dignity within their own state.

"This support for Palestine is not unusual for the generous people of Bahrain which is known for its genuine positions", Hamas added.

He also reiterated his stance that Israel has a right to defend itself from aggression.

He also made a rare visit by an Arab official to the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque complex in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

The Trump administration's $50 billion economic support plan for the Palestinians can not succeed without addressing the political elements of a Middle East deal, worldwide financial chiefs and global investors said Wednesday in comments that pushed back on the USA insistence that the two must be separated.

While the representation was broad, many countries' delegations were not headed by Cabinet ministers, an indication of their uncertainty about the proposal's viability. It aims to double the Palestinians' gross domestic product, create more than one million jobs in the Palestinian territories and reduce the poverty rate by 50%.

The special envoy did not specify when, if at all, the administration will release the political component of its peace deal.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said the kingdom would support whatever brings prosperity to the region but that it was important that "the private sector drives this". He said it was more important to first set out what is economically possible.

"Jared is not a politician, he's a real estate man", the businessman said on condition of anonymity.

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In Muscat, the Palestinian ambassador to Oman said the opening of an embassy in Ramallah was a "historical decision".

"Palestine is not for sale!" protesters chanted. Additionally, he has cut off all USA aid to the Palestinians, including $350 million for UNRWA, which assists Palestinian refugees, while scrapping another $200 million in aid funneled through USAID and $25 million for hospitals in predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem.

Stalled since 2014, peacemaking has been on a backburner for some Israelis, while others feel a need to work for coexistence.

Trump, Kushner and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin argue that a new approach is needed precisely because previous efforts have fallen short.

The point was underscored by Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund who attended the event but did not speak at it.

The Palestinians wrote to Federation Internationale de Football Association chief Gianni Infantino on Tuesday urging him to reconsider his participation.

It has been criticised for failing to tackle tough political and statehood issues.

Essentially, the USA, is "Imposing a one-state solution" with two regimes, he said.

Trump has taken a series of landmark steps to benefit Israel including recognising bitterly divided Jerusalem as the Jewish state's capital in 2017, leading the Palestinian Authority to cut off formal contact. Trump's Mideast team has recently signaled it will accept Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank, the heartland of any Palestinian state, deepening Palestinian suspicions.

The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, initiated by Saudi Arabia, called for a Palestinian state along pre-1967 lines with a capital in eastern Jerusalem and a settlement of the so-called "right of return" for Palestinian "refugees".

A statement on the official Oman News Agency said: "In continuation of the Sultanate of Oman's supportive approach to the brotherly Palestinian people, the Sultanate has chose to open a new diplomatic mission to the state of Palestine at the embassy level".

Washington will be hoping that wealthy Gulf Arab states show a concrete interest in the plan, which expects donor nations and investors to contribute $50 billion to the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. It is a shameful deal.

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