Tuesday, November 24, 2020

United States-led peace plan to begin in June, vexing Palestinians

By J.J. Rhies - May 22, 2019
Section: [Main News]


On Sunday, May 19, the United States revealed that its long-awaited Middle East plan will kick off with a meeting in Bahrain next month.


The “deal of the century,” as top U.S. officials including President Donald Trump have described it, will begin with a workshop in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, on June 25–26.


Palestinian officials have said they were not approached about the meeting, which is part of a broader plan that the U.S. hopes will bring peace between Israel and Palestine.


Not for the first time, Palestinian officials have expressed deep concerns about the U.S.-led deal.


On Monday, May 20, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said his cabinet knew nothing about the upcoming talks in Manama.


“The cabinet wasn’t consulted about the reported workshop, neither over the content, nor the outcome nor timing,” Shtayyeh said.


The Bahrain meeting is expected to encourage economic development in the occupied Palestinian territories, and will include business leaders and finance ministers from the Middle East, Asia and Europe.


The World Bank published a report last April claiming that the West Bank is experiencing “severe financial shock” as a result of recent aid cuts from Israel.


“Any solution to the conflict in Palestine,” Shtayyeh added, “must be political ... and based on ending the occupation.”


'No Palestinian participation’


Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), said in a statement that the organisation had not “mandated any party to negotiate on our behalf,” continuing the Palestinians’ years-long trend of refusing peace talks with the U.S.


Another member of the PLO, Ahmmed Majdalani, said that engaging in the U.S.-led Bahrain meeting would amount to capitulating to American and Israeli interests.


“There will be no Palestinian participation in the Manama workshop,” Majdalani added.


The Palestinian Authority began resisting talks with the U.S. after it moved its embassy to Jerusalem in late 2017, effectively endorsing the city as Israel’s rightful capital.


Israel wrested East Jerusalem, which is still largely considered occupied territory, from Jordanian control during the 1967 war.


Jason Greenblatt, the U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East, said it was “difficult to understand” why the Palestinians have not shown interest in the upcoming Manama meeting.


“Our economic plan is an ambitious but achievable vision; it presents an alternative path with the potential to unlock a prosperous future for the Palestinian people if they choose to follow it,” he said.



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