Saudi Arabia and UAE to attend Bahrain conference

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have confirmed that they will attend next month’s ‘Peace for Prosperity’ economic workshop in Bahrain, as part of US efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks.

The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the announcement, saying: “The UAE supports all international efforts aimed at supporting economic progress and increasing opportunities in the region, and alleviating the suffering of people in the region, particularly our brothers in Palestine. It aims to lift the Palestinian people out of misery and to enable them for a stable and prosperous future. The UAE reiterates its support for the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

The Saudi Press Agency confirmed that the Minister of Economy, Mohammad bin Mazid Al-Tuwaijri, will attend. The report said: “The workshop will be attended by a number of businessmen and investors from Arab countries and around the world. They will discuss potential economic growth, human capital development and the creation of a stimulating investment environment in the region and in Palestine in particular.”

Palestinian officials and leading businessman intend to boycott the event. Abed Alkarim Ashour, a Palestinian businessman from Gaza, posted an invitation on twitter that he recieved from US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He wrote: “The Bahrain conference aims at selling Palestine for a fistful of dollars – you invited the wrong person.”

Yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out in support of extending Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank, after a group of nearly 300 former senior security officials warned the move would endanger the country. Netanyahu promised to extend Israeli law to all Israeli settlements in the West Bank during the last week of the Israeli election campaign.

Commanders of Israel’s Security sent a letter to Netanyahu which said annexing territory in the West Bank would bring about the collapse of security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and strengthen terrorist organisations. Netanyahu responded that: “Land in Judea and Samaria is not just a guarantee of Israel’s security — they are also our patrimony”.