In advance of the Bahrain Workshop, the White House has released its proposal for Palestinian economic development, entitled “Peace to Prosperity.”
We at ALLMEP recognized instantly that the document featured familiar faces from our member organizations, such as Robi Damelin and Bassam Aramin of the Parents Circle-Families Forum, and the Near East Foundation’s Olive Oil Without Borders program. In both these instances, the people and programs featured were past recipients of USAID funding—abruptly cut off when the Trump Administration ceased all support for cross-border peacebuilding via the Conflict Management and Mitigation Program, which ALLMEP’s advocacy helped establish a decade ago.
On a Twitter thread seen by over 200,000 people, with more than 16,000 engagements, ALLMEP Executive Director Joel Braunold provided a framework for understanding the White House plan from the perspective of ALLMEP’s members, representing their too-often overlooked interests to the international media.
In an interview with the Associated Press, he asserted: “It’s pretty audacious to have cut off the funding and closed off these programs, and then use their images to sell an economic package that has no support from the Palestinians.”
Taking this message to CNN, The Times of Israel, Ha’aretz, The Forward, and Turkish television network TRT, Braunold explained: “These were successful ongoing programs that were doing the hard, slow, long work to transform the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which the Trump Administration cut off, and then literally ripped off, by taking the imagery to promote the programs and putting it in as material for this document. It’s pretty galling for a community that has sacrificed so much trying to build the peace and reconciliation we’re all looking for to be abused in this manner.”
In the coming weeks and months, we will be working closely with our members in the field: to help build their capacity, reaching out to international policymakers to ensure that their work has financial support, and that their indispensable role merits political primacy.