Mohammad Shtayyeh on White House Efforts for Peace

As the White House unveils a fifty-billion-dollar package for peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh dismisses it as nonsense in an exclusive interview with Christiane Amanpour.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Why would you boycott an event that is designed simply to explore, remember it’s called a workshop, the opportunity to give billions of dollars, tens of billions of dollars, $50 billion to your people and the Palestinian authority?

MOHAMMAD SHTAYYEH, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRIME MINISTER: The figures are so exaggerated to the extent that we don’t believe it, first. Secondly, this economic workshop is totally diverse from any political dimension. The economic problem in Palestinian has nothing to do with the economic policy of anybody. The economic problem here or financial crisis that we are in, it has to do with the Israeli measures that has been imposed on the Palestinian economy, on one hand, and the financial war that has been declared by this American administration on the Palestinian people, on the Palestinian authority, on the United Nation work, association for the Palestinian refugees. So, the issue is really not an economic issue. The Palestinians are hoping for independence, sovereign state, end of occupation. The issue for us is not about economic issues. We have seen this before. Secretary George Shultz was here in 1983. He came to say that solving the Palestinian problem has to do with improving the living condition of the Palestinian people. This didn’t materialize. Then John Kerry stood at the World Economic Forum at the Dead Sear, promising the Palestinians $4 billion. This has never materialized. All the foreign direct investment has been seized simply because — or blocked, simply because international investors have no access to the Palestinian territories in the absence of Palestinian control of borders, or exit points, of entry points and so on and so forth. So, the issue here is not economic problems. The issue here is 100 percent political that has to do with the fact that the Palestinian people are living under direct settler colonial regime, that’s called the settler colonial regime of the State of Israel. In order for the Palestinians to live in a prosperous situation, we need to be independent.

AMANPOUR: Right. So, you’re basically saying, if I get you right, that it’s no point having the cart before the horse that promises and ideas of money and investment will not work outside of political framework.

SHTAYYEH: Exactly. You are right. In addition to this, the [13:05:00] whole exercise that has been there, I mean, the paper that has been presented or will be presented, it’s simply a cotton-based issue. We have seen it in UIC ID documents, we have seen in the Quartet documents, we have seen it here and there. The issue is not really about fixed issues. This is like a desktop work. This is somebody who is divorced from reality.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Mohammad Shtayyeh, the Palestinian Prime Minister, in an exclusive interview. She also speaks with Bryan Stevenson about his long crusade for judicial justice. Alicia Menendez speaks with conductor Marin Alsop, the first woman to lead a major American orchestra.