Palestinian Authority to boycott US-Bahrain event

The Palestinian Authority (PA) will not attend the US-led economic conference in Bahrain next month.

The PA Social Development Minister, Ahmed Majdalani, who is also a member of the PLO’s executive committee, said: “There will be no Palestinian participation in the Manama workshop. Any Palestinian who would take part would be nothing but a collaborator for the Americans and Israel.”

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayeh yesterday criticised the workshop, saying: “The cabinet wasn’t consulted about the reported workshop, neither over the content, nor the outcome nor timing. Any solution to the conflict in Palestine must be political … and based on ending the occupation.”

Palestinian businessman Bashar Masri also said he is rejecting the invitation: “I will not participate in this conference. We reaffirm that we won’t deal with any event that is not within Palestinian national consensus. We Palestinians are able to advance our economy away from foreign interventions.”

Saeb Erekat also criticised the US for its planned conference, saying that “attempts at promoting an economic normalisation of the Israeli occupation will be rejected.”

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad likewise expressed their opposition to the conference.

The US Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt, described the Palestinian stance as “difficult to understand.” He said the economic plan is an “ambitious but achievable vision” which “presents an alternative path with the potential to unlock a prosperous future for the Palestinian people if they choose to follow it.”

On Sunday, the US and Bahrain announced a “Peace to Prosperity” workshop on 25-26 June to promote better economic conditions for Palestinians as part of the Trump administration’s plan to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks. The joint statement said: “This workshop is a pivotal opportunity to convene government, civil society, and business leaders to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanise support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement.”

Jared Kushner, the chief architect of the US plan, has stressed that the economic component is just one part of the plan, noting that it will only succeed if “the core political issues are resolved.”