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"Frustrated" Palestinians urge Arabs to evade Bahrain, "workshop" – Arab-Israeli conflict


PRESIDENT OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY Mahmoud Abbas welcomes the audience during the ceremony in Ramallah

THE PRESIDENT OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY Mahmoud Abbas welcomes the audience at a ceremony in Ramala on December 31 at the 54th anniversary of the founding of Fatah.

Palestinian officials voiced Wednesday a disappointment over the decision of some Arab countries – including Jordan, Egypt and Morocco – to attend a US-led economic conference later in the month in Bahrain.

Officials have renewed their call on all Arabs to follow the example of the Palestinians and boycott the conference, which is due to begin on June 25 in the capital, Manama.

"Of course, we are disappointed," said a senior official of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. "Arab participation in the conference would be a serious blow to all Palestinians."

The official claimed that the US government exerts great pressure on the Arab countries not to follow the Palestinian call to boycott the conference in Bahrain. "We understand that some Arab countries face great pressure, but this does not mean that they have to act against the interests of their people and the Palestinians."

Another PS official rejected the decision by some Arab countries to attend the conference and said that their participation would be "symbolic" and "meaningless".

"The Arabs are well aware that they are not empowered to represent the Palestinians at the conference," he said.

The leaders of the Palestinian ruling factions Fatah, who had an extraordinary meeting in Ramallah on Wednesday, renewed their call on the Arab countries to boycott the conference.

The leaders also called on Bahrain to reverse its decision to host the conference, where the US administration should present the economic part of its long-awaited Middle East peace plan, also called the "Deal of the Century".

The call came in response to reports that Jordan, Egypt and Morocco confirmed their participation in a conference in Bahrain. Previously, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced that they would also participate in "economic workshops" in Bahrain, despite Palestinian calls for boycotting the conference.

Majed al-Fityani, Secretary General of the Revolutionary Council of Fatah, which is the key decision-maker, has called on the Arab countries that have agreed to attend the conference to reverse their decision.

"We say to Arabs that we reject the conference in Bahrain," he said. "We urge you to boycott this workshop. We do not want this conference to turn into a safety net to maintain the occupation. Our rights are indispensable and our people are able to use their methods to deal with a great conspiracy. "

Fityani warned Arabs not to become a tool in the hands of the US administration and "partners in an agreement to lift the Palestinian cause."

Fatah said in the statement that the US administration "became a partner of the occupation, but only to change the form of this profession and to preserve it."

The Council reiterated that it rejects the upcoming US President Donald Trump's peace plan. "Palestine and Jerusalem are not on sale," he said, and called on Palestinians to protest at a conference in Bahrain to express their opposition to American and Israeli politicians.

The PA government has expressed "regret" over the reports that Jordan, Egypt and Morocco have decided to attend a conference in Bahrain. The government has also called on all Arab countries to boycott the conference and argue that the US administration is striving to introduce solutions that are incompatible with "international legitimacy".

The government's spokeswoman, Ibrahim Milhem, said the purpose of the conference was to "replace the country's peace for the peace" with the motto "Economic prosperity for peace." The message of the US-Arab rejection of the deal of the century ".

Hamas leaders in Gaza have voiced concern over the decision of some Arab countries to attend a conference in Bahrain.
Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas representative, urged the Arab states to reconsider their decision, which is contrary to the opposition of the Palestinians to the conference.

"The conference is part of the" work of the century ", which aims to destroy the Palestinian goal," he said.

Ismail Radwan, another Hamas official in Gaza, reiterated his opposition to his move to the conference.

"The question of Palestine is not an economic or humanitarian issue," he said. "It is a question of displaced people and there is no room for occupation in the territory of Palestine. We call on the Arab countries to boycott this conference, which will collapse due to the absence of Palestinians. "

In the meantime, Israel has not yet officially announced that it has received an official invitation to the conference, which apparently waited for the "critical mass" of the Arab states to announce its participation before they said it would co-operate.

One US official said that Israel's "soon" message is expected.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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