FILE PHOTO: Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh gestures as he arrives for a cabinet meeting of the new Palestinian government, in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank April 15, 2019.
He said U.S. officials spent up to 12 months studying economic experiences in states such as Japan and South Korea in the mid 1950s before coming up with a comprehensive economic plan that could enable the Palestinian people and neighboring states to achieve self-sufficiency in several areas, including infrastructure, industry, empowering and investing in people and reforming the government.
The workshop however, will avoid political issues such as whether the Palestinians will get their own state; the status of Jerusalem; measures Israel takes in the name of security; and what should happen with Palestinians and their descendants who fled or were expelled from Israel around the time of the state's creation in 1948, he added. Since being boycotted by the Palestinians, it has cut back on USA aid for them, contributing to economic hardship in the West Bank and Gaza.
The participants in the June 25-26 conference in Manama, the first phase of the peace plan's rollout, are expected to include representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including some finance ministers, the administration official said.
The top PLO officials said that reaching peace "is not about improving living conditions under occupation, but about reaching Palestine's full potential by ending the Israeli occupation". "History will deem the Palestinian Authority harshly for passing up any opportunity that might maybe give the Palestinians something so very diversified, and something so very certain, when compared to what they've at the present time", he acknowledged Monday.
According to the official, Washington believes the workshop would benefit not only the West Bank and Gaza, but also eight countries in the region, including Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt.
The Palestinians seek the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza - territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war - for an independent state. Israel calls Jerusalem its indivisible capital and has said it might declare sovereignty in its West Bank settlements.
"By encouraging Palestinians to reject the workshop, the PA is shamefully attempting to block their route in direction of a greater future".
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Responding yesterday, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh, told CNN that the plan is "futile".
However, the official refused to comment on the political aspect of the peace plan, saying it will be discussed later.
The Trump administration has said its still-secret peace plan would require compromise by both sides.
Trump's plan has been developed and will have been apparently implemented by Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and his senior adviser, who is also a wealthy Jewish-American businessman with close relations to Israel's hardliner Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"This is just an economic workshop".
"We think this will showcase the potential of the entire region", he added. Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, envoy of global negotiations, have been leading efforts to write the plan, but so far, there's been no participation from the Palestinians.
"The plan for this kind of gathering in the Trumpian world is for the United States to dictate what it feels is in the interest of the USA and the Netanyahu wing of the Israeli government", Khouri told Al Jazeera, citing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.