Palestinians burned portraits of President Donald Trump as they protested in both the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank yesterday against U.S.-led plans for a conference on their economy in Bahrain. "Down with Bahrain, down with Trump, down with the Manama conference," chanted crowds in Gaza. Some burned large paintings of Trump marked with the words: "Deal of the devil."
In the West Bank, hundreds marched through Ramallah's main squares, waving posters in support of President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Western-backed Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule in the territory. Protesters there burned posters of both Trump and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The rallies marked a moment of political unity against the Bahrain conference, despite a 12-year political feud between Abbas's Fatah party and Hamas.
The June 25-26 conference in the Bahraini capital Manama, which the Palestinian Authority is boycotting, will discuss U.S.-led proposals, set to be presented by U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, for an economic vision that is part of a wider plan to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Several Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, will also participate in the Bahrain workshop as they appear intended to curry favor with Trump regarding his hard-line policies against Iran.
The $50 billion plan envisions a global investment fund to lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab states' economies. The plan, which has been long-promised and faced a number of delays, calls for increased infrastructure projects between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with a stated goal to "empower the Palestinian people to build a better future for themselves and their children." Trump's administration has touted the plan and called the "Peace to Prosperity" plan as "the most ambitious and comprehensive international effort for the Palestinian people to date."
Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century" peace plan has yet to be revealed in full, however, based on leaks in the media, it envisages making major concessions to Israel. Fundamental political issues such as the status of Jerusalem city and rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine were not mentioned in the plan. Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Middle East dispute, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967, might one day serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.