Bush, Clinton help Palestinian businesses

The Bush administration and former President Bill Clinton’s foundation have joined to help underwrite Palestinian businesses.

The Clinton Global Initiative brought together the Overseas Private Investment Corp., the U.S. government’s fee-based agency that promotes business investment abroad, with the Middle East Investment Institute, a branch of the Aspen Institute, to provide political risk insurance to Palestinian businesses.

The agreement signed in Bethlehem last week establishing the Palestinian Political Risk Insurance project will reinsure the National Insurance Company, allowing the Palestinian insurer to broaden its own risk insurance capacity. The Palestinian risk project initially will insure the National Insurance Company for $5 million, but that is expected to increase to $20 million.

In a statement, Clinton said he sought the backing of the Bush administration for the project after it was proposed last year at a Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting and was pleased when Bush committed the overseas corporation to the project.

“We have Palestinians, Americans, Europeans, Israelis, insurance experts, businesspeople, lawyers, financial sector specialists, regional specialists, all contributing their time, energy and resources to meet this challenge and make a difference in this very important part of the world,” he said.

Mara Rudman, a former Clinton administration foreign policy adviser who currently works with the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, helped to shape the proposal.

Robert Mosbacher, the overseas corporation’s president, also agreed to support an endowment for the Friends School in Ramallah-El Bireh. An overseas corporation loan will help the Quaker school lease commercial real estate property on its campus.

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