A US-sponsored conference on economic development in the Palestinian territories will kick off in Manama on Tuesday as part of a broader US initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the Palestinian side will miss the conference.
The two-day conference aims to raise $ 50 billion in investments over a 10-year period, but the refusal of participating Palestinian leaders casts a shadow over the “Peace for Peace” workshop.
The conference is the economic aspect of the so-called “Deal of the Century”, an initiative by the White House for peace in the Middle East led by the adviser to the President and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt.
“We will not attend this workshop”, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said a few days ago.
“The reason is that the economic situation shouldn’t be discussed before the political situation”.
However, Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab states with peace treaties with Israel, will participate and be represented by their respective Deputy Ministers of Finance.
The Israeli government has not been invited.
According to the White House, the money to be collected at the conference will provide a million jobs and will fund the construction of a transport corridor between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Other initiatives include improving infrastructure, tourism and agriculture, establishing educational projects for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and providing other projects in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.
Trump’s administration has turned decades of US policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through moves such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and cutting aid.
The comprehensive strike, all of the Gaza Strip provinces, on Tuesday, rejected the Manama Economic Conference, which is scheduled to take place today in the Bahraini capital.
Commercial shops and government and private institutions were closed in implementation of the strike decision, which was called for by a committee of major Palestinian factions.
Fishermen have also suspended their work in the Gaza Sea since the morning hours, following the decision to strike.
The Palestinian fishermen’s union said on Monday it would suspend fishing in the Gaza Sea from 6 am to 6 pm, rejecting the conference.
The “Deal of the Century” is a peace plan drawn up by the Trump administration and is said to be forcing Palestinians to make unfair concessions to Israel’s interests, including the status of occupied East Jerusalem and the right of return of refugees.
The “Bahrain Conference” will be held in Manama on Tuesday and Wednesday under the title “Workshop for Prosperity for Peace” in the first practical action of the US Middle East Peace Plan, known as the “Century Deal”.
The Palestinian Authority and factions announced their rejection of the conference and called for its boycott.