Seven years ago, I wrote Kerry’s Billions to critically examine the US economic plan for the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). At that time, the US Secretary of State John Kerry (under the Obama-Biden Administration) promised the Palestinians billions of dollars (ranging between $4 and $11 billion) through his ‘Palestine Economic Initiative’.
The plan aimed to develop the economy of the West Bank and Gaza Strip over a three-year period, as a prerequisite for a political settlement that would end the ‘Palestinian-Israeli conflict’. That plan promised a 50% increase in Palestinian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over three years, a cut of two-thirds in unemployment rates and a virtual doubling of the Palestinian median wage. Kerry has called his plan ‘a new model for development’, while Tony Blair, the Quartet’s representative at the time, claimed it was unique in history. I warned then not only about the unattainability of this plan, but also about its problematic design, detrimental consequences, and flawed economic rationale.
I also warned that ‘economic peace’ can’t buy ‘political peace’, and that economic peace as a prerequisite for prosperity is fundamentally flawed in the absence of a political horizon. Kerry (and the Obama-Biden Administration) left the White House, the billions of dollars stayed in D.C., and the plan failed to materialise or deliver any tangible outcome of what it envisaged and promised.