US President Donald Trump receives a briefing from senior military leadership at the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC April 9, 2018. .
(photo credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration is “reviewing legislation” that would create an investment fund for the Palestinian economy, a White House official told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
The bill, introduced by Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress last week, proposes the establishment of a Palestinian Partnership Fund that would “promote joint economic development and finance joint ventures between Palestinian entrepreneurs and companies in the United States, Israel and countries in the Middle East.”
A senior group of senators on the Foreign Relations Committee introduced the legislation just two days after meeting with members of US President Donald Trump’s peace team on Capitol Hill. But sources say the bill, which would encourage “people-to-people” exchanges and community building across dividing lines of the conflict, was not drafted in conjunction with the White House on its peace effort.
That effort is still largely under wraps, and details of the plan were not shared at the Hill briefing with bipartisan members of the committee, among whom included Republican Senators Lindsey Graham
of South Carolina and Corey Gardner of Colorado and Democrats Tim Kaine of Virginia and Chris Coons of Delaware, co-authors of the recent legislation, an administration official said.
Neither administration nor congressional sources would comment on the timing of the legislation, introduced just months before the president plans to roll out his peace plan. Trump told reporters in New York last month that he would like to release his team’s proposals by the end of the year.
The White House has recently cut a slew of budget lines related to the Palestinian Authority, including aid for people-to-people exchanges between Palestinians and Israelis. The congressional fund would provide $100 million in additional investment funds.
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