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[Published: Monday June 24 2019]

'Get Israel off our backs', Palestinians say

RAMALLAH 24 Jun (ANA) - Analysts have rebuked the economic part of the United States's Middle East peace plan for failing to address the main problem that has heavily curbed the Palestinian economy - the 52-year-old Israeli military occupation over the Palestinian territories.
The economic plan was released by the White House on Saturday and is set to be presented during a US-led workshop in Bahrain on June 25-26.
When the document was released, many noticed that the 40-page plan was void of any political context with the words "occupation", "freedom", "equality", "blockade" missing.
"The absence of those words is actually quite glaring and it's very indicative of what they see is the issue," Diana Buttu a Haifa-based analyst and former legal adviser to Palestinian peace negotiators told Al Jazeera.
"They've put together this optimal, pie-in-the-sky plan that any person who's involved in economic development would love to see. But it's not applicable to Palestine because they've taken away the political context."
At the heart of the plan is a proposed $50bn investment fund which would be split between Palestinians in the occupied territories (more than half of the total amount) and its neighbours Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.
The fund will be used for 179 infrastructure and business projects, including building up the Palestinians' tourism sector.
However, it doesn't address the obstacles to freedom of movement that Palestinians face, living under the 12-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the Gaza Strip, or under occupation in the West Bank, surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements, deeming it a non-starter for many across the board.
The Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited rule in some areas of the West Bank, and Hamas, which governs Gaza, have both staunchly rejected the plan.
"Is Israel ever going to allow for the movement of goods? No. Is Israel going to allow this plan to be implemented? No. Can there be economic development under occupation? Again, the answer is no," Buttu said.
Many have lamented that the plan recycled old ideas such as the proposed $5bn transportation corridor which would connect the occupied West Bank to the besieged Gaza Strip.
The idea for a transportation corridor first emerged around 2005, when the RAND research organisation proposed to build "The Arc" rail line joining Gaza with other cities in the West Bank, intended to form Palestinian congruity and create conditions for economic growth and population growth.(ANA)
FA/ANA/24 June 2019--------

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