News ID: 253094
Published: 0221 GMT May 20, 2019

Minister: Palestinians won't attend US-led conference in Bahrain

Minister: Palestinians won't attend US-led conference in Bahrain

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 Organization, told Reuters.

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

Also Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday the Palestinians have not been consulted about the US-led conference designed to encourage international investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Washington announced the conference 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 recognized Al-Quds 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,” Shtayyeh told Palestinian ministers in the presence of reporters, Reuters reported.

He did not immediately say whether Palestinians would attend the June 25-26 event in Manama, which US officials have predicted will include representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as some finance ministers.

Shtayyeh reiterated Palestinians’ core demands, which include gaining full control of the occupied West Bank and Gaza, as well as East Al-Quds. Israel calls Al-Quds its indivisible capital and said it might declare sovereignty in its West Bank settlements.

Around 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in the occupied West Bank. Israel has controlled the West Bank since seizing it in a 1967 war.

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 US 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.”

Since Palestinians in Gaza began holding Friday rallies along the Gaza fence in March of last year, more than 250 protesters have been killed — and thousands more injured — by Israeli forces.

During Great March of Return demonstrations, Palestinians demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the Israeli regime.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.



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