Palestinians say not consulted on Bahrain 'peace conference'

Kobi Marimi of Israel performs the song

"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, said on Monday.

However, a second senior U.S. official declined to say whether Israeli and Palestinian officials would take part.

The Trump administration has announced the first step of what it considers a blueprint for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, encouraging fiscal investment in exchange for a cease-fire. It's an open question as to whether the Palestinians will exchange some or all of their demands for the prospect of economic prosperity.

"All efforts to make the oppressor and the oppressed coexist are doomed to fail", Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian diplomat and negotiator, said. They want a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as their capital and the right for refugees and descendants to return to their land prior to the creation of Israel in 1948. Israel's finance minister, Moshe Kahlon, said through a spokesman on Sunday that he had yet to receive any invitation.

The economic part of the plan, which will focus on ways to promote the Palestinian economy, will be made public before the political component, which is still under discussion, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for travel back to Washington, DC at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, New York, U.S., May 17, 2019.

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The Manama conference, entitled "Peace to Prosperity", is billed as an global economic "workshop" that will bring together government and business leaders to help jump-start the economic portion of the broader USA peace initiative. "This is not about improving living conditions under occupation but about reaching Palestine's full potential by ending the Israeli occupation".

President Donald Trump has called the peace plan the "deal of the century" - but so far, it appears the proposal isn't stirring much optimism among Palestinians, who expect the plan will heavil favors Israel.

USA officials said the conference would include representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as some finance ministers.

Kushner has declined to say whether the plan includes a two-state solution, a central goal of other recent peace efforts that is widely endorsed internationally. 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 US peace plan is expected to feature proposals for regional economic development that would include Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. US officials see this as key to getting both the Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiating table to they can hash out specific details of future statehood.

"The "Peace to Prosperity" workshop underscores the close strategic partnership between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States as well as the strong and shared interest in creating thriving economic opportunities that benefit the region", stated Bahrain Minister of Finance and National Economy Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.

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