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(Bloomberg) — One’s a spokesman for an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. His Palestinian partner is derided at home as a traitor to the national cause. This is the unlikely duo the Trump administration has embraced as it prepares to launch the economic component of its much-vaunted “deal of the century” for Middle East peace.
Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is launching the initiative with a workshop in Bahrain on Tuesday, where he seeks to drum up some $50 billion in investments for the Palestinian territories and neighboring countries that host large numbers of refugees.
The agenda boasts senior figures including International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and Thomas Barrack, the executive chairman of Colony Capital, displaying the influence the U.S. is able to wield over some of the world’s financial titans but not, apparently, over the regional leaders it needs to turn its plan into reality.
The conference did not win the kind of interest Jared had pushed for; a fraction of the more than 1,000 business leaders invited are showing up, according to a personal familiar with the situation. The Palestinian Authority, which broke off contacts with the Trump administration 18 months ago, is boycotting the conference because it wants to prioritize a political agreement and doesn’t trust Wash