The challenge of peace is “formidable, but…the necessity for peace is much greater.”
At the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan, Secretary of State John Kerry said the challenge of peace between Israelis and Palestinians is “formidable, but…the necessity for peace is much greater.”
Mr. Kerry travelled to the Middle East in May in part to encourage Palestinian and Israeli leaders to restart serious negotiations which ended in 2008.
At the World Economic Forum on May 26th, Secretary Kerry praised a groundbreaking plan being shaped by Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and leading Palestinian and Israeli businessman, as well as business people from around the world “to develop a healthy, sustainable, private-sector-led Palestinian economy that will transform the fortunes of a future Palestinian state, but also, significantly transform the possibilities for Jordan and for Israel.”
Secretary of State Kerry said, “We’re looking to mobilize some $4 billion of investment...This team of experts – private citizens donating their time…are analyzing the opportunities in tourism, construction, light manufacturing, building materials, energy, agriculture, and information and communications technology.”
The preliminary results of the plan, he said, show that the Palestinian gross domestic product could expand by as much as 50 percent over three years, cut unemployment from 21 percent today to 8 percent, and increase the median annual wage by as much as 40 percent.
But, Secretary Kerry said, such a transformative economic approach cannot occur without the second half of the equation for real Israeli-Palestinian peace: the political path that breaks the deadlock between the parties and leads to a two-state solution: “a secure state of Israel and a viable, independent state of Palestine.”
And for that path to succeed negotiations between the two sides must take place. “We are reaching a critical point where tough decisions have to be made,” said Secretary of State Kerry. “And I ask all of you to keep your eyes focused on what can really be done here. Think of all that can change. That’s what should motivate us. . .The story of the stalemate between Israelis and Palestinians simply can no longer be about all the times that we have been let down by failed efforts. It has to be about the very real ways that we can lift people up, create opportunity, and create the conditions for peace.”