All major Palestinian groups have said they will boycott a workshop in Bahrain organised by the United States to push the economic aspects of a much-touted Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
Senior leaders from the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Islamic Jihad all said they would stay away from the event, featuring Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, which is due to be held after Ramadan.
Those behind the workshop say they want to invite business leaders to understand how they can create economic opportunities for Palestinians. Kushner is believed to want to unveil the economic aspects of Trump’s “deal of the century” between Israel and the Palestinians before revealing the political aspects.
Palestinians say any proposals will be biased in favour of Israel and that the US is no longer able to arbitrate impartially, owing to the decisions Trump has taken since coming to power.
In recent months he has withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in Palestinian aid, moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, recognised the Golan Heights as Israeli, closed the Palestinian consulate in Washington, and refused to criticise or contradict Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he threatened to annex parts of the West Bank.
US Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt said the Palestinian stance was “difficult to understand,” adding that Trump’s plan “presents an alternative path with the potential to unlock a prosperous future for the Palestinian people if they choose to follow it.”
On the workshop, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayeh said his cabinet “wasn’t consulted over the content, outcome or timing,” adding: “Any solution to the conflict in Palestine must be political … and based on ending the occupation.”