US Secretary of State John Kerry believes injecting $4 billion into the ailing Palestinian economy will enable to parties to move back to the negotiating table to talk peace. Speaking to a conference of the World Economic Forum being held on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea, Kerry explained that his plan seeks to find about $4 billion of investment in tourism construction, the result of which he predicts will be to “increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50% over three years…and reduce unemployment by two-thirds…and increase the median wage by 40%.” The creation of the plan to boost the Palestinian economy was tasked to Tony Blair, who heads the “Quartet” – the international entity brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace that includes the United States, United Nations, United Kingdom, European Union and Russia. Kerry’s plan comes as the Palestinians have begun to talk about moving away from the American push and return to seeking recognition of statehood by United Nations bodies – a campaign that infuriates both Israel and the US. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has steadfastly refused to end the 4 ½ year drought on direct talks until Israel complies with his preconditions, something the Israelis insists it will do only at the table, not before. The Palestinians also insist that economic measures are not substitutes for political progress.
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