Palestinians won’t attend US-led conference in Bahrain – minister

The US said the June 25-26 event in Manama was the first part of Trump’s long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan



Palestinian officials will not attend a US-led conference in Bahrain next month designed to draw investment to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a Palestinian cabinet minister said on Monday.

“There will be no Palestinian participation in the Manama workshop,” Social Development Minister Ahmed Majdalani, who is also a member of the executive committee of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation, told Reuters.

“Any Palestinian who would take part would be be nothing but a collaborator for the Americans and Israel.”

Washington announced the June 25-26 event in Manama on Sunday, describing it as the unveiling of the first part of President Donald Trump’s long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

The Palestinians, who have boycotted the Trump administration since it recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017, have shown little interest in discussing the plan.

“The cabinet wasn’t consulted about the reported workshop, neither over the content, nor the outcome nor timing,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayye told ministers in the presence of reporters on Monday.

U.S. officials have predicted the event will include representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as some finance ministers.

Shtayyeh reiterated Palestinians’ core demands for a two-state peace deal with Israel, which include gaining full control of the occupied West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza, as well as East Jerusalem. Israel calls Jerusalem its indivisible capital and said it might declare sovereignty in its West Bank settlements.

The Trump administration has said its still-secret peace plan would require compromise by both sides. Since being shunned by the Palestinians, it has cut back on U.S. aid for them, contributing to economic hardship in the West Bank and Gaza.

“The financial crisis the Palestinian Authority is living through today is a result of the financial war that is being launched against us in order to win political concessions,” Shtayyeh told the cabinet. “We do not submit to blackmail and we don’t trade our political rights for money.”