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Money Can’t Buy Palestinians’ Love

Some have compared the new $50 billion US-led initiative aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the Marshall Plan in Western Europe after World War II. But the Marshall Plan succeeded because it bolstered national identities on the continent, whereas the US plan largely ignores the issue of Palestinian sovereignty.

PARIS – “Man shall not live by bread alone,” says Jesus in Matthew 4:4. But biblical wisdom seems to have been lost on the organizers of the economic conference held on June 25-26 in Bahrain, where Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and key foreign-policy adviser, finally presented the outlines of his Peace to Prosperity plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The talks in Manama focused only on the plan’s “economic dimension” – in other words, the carrot before the stick. Over ten years, some $50 billion will be made available to the region (not only to the Palestinians), with wealthy Gulf states footing much of the bill. The tougher, political side of the deal is expected in the fall, once a new Israeli government takes office after the election scheduled for September 17.

Some US commentators close to the Trump administration have drawn comparisons with the US-led Marshall Plan after World War II. Having saved Western Europe from communism and Soviet imperialism during the Cold War, the argument goes, America is about to do something equally brave in the Middle East to counter the twin threats of Islamic fundamentalism and Iranian imperialism.

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  1. asoros3_Emanuele CremaschiGetty Images_italycoronavirusnurse Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

    The Spirit of Milan

    Alex Soros

    The COVID-19 crisis has given the European Union an opportunity to honor its high-flown talk of values and rights, and assert itself as a global leader. To seize it, the EU and its member states must demonstrate much greater solidarity, not least toward Italy, than they have so far.

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