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Conference That is Prelude to Israel-Palestine Peace Plan, Leaves Out Palestine

Free Palestine protest, Washington D.C. March 26, 2017. (Photo: Ted Eytan)
Free Palestine protest, Washington D.C. March 26, 2017. (Photo: Ted Eytan)

“I do believe that the bold step needed, is that the Palestinian Authority reaches a compromise with the rival Hamas party in Gaza. Palestinian unity is likely to happen.”

Several Palestinian bodies and representatives declared on Monday their decision not to attend a U.S.-sponsored international economic gathering in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, scheduled for June 24-25. U.S. officials have said the conference is a prelude to Washington’s still-secret peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

A statement by the Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, read that the Palestinian Authority (PA) had not been consulted on the conference and hence Palestinians will not be part of it. The Prime Minister asserted that the Palestinian people’s quest is for a viable two-state solution, envisioned by previous American administrations.

Ties with the US Severed Since 2017

Since December 2017, Palestinian-American ties have been severed after U.S. President Donald Trump declared the occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the U.S. embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

Additionally, Washington has withheld funds for the PA and shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization’s representative office in Washington D.C. U.S. officials said Sunday that the upcoming Manama conference is a prelude to Trump’s still secret peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The officials added that Trump’s plan for peace will require both Palestinians and Israelis to make concessions. Yet, no details about the plan have been revealed.

The Manama gathering will involve businessmen from Europe and the Middle East, as well as finance ministers.

Bashar Almasri, a leading Palestinian businessman and owner of Rawaby City on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, wrote on social media that he declined an invitation to speak in the expected conference.

“Any such an initiative that goes outside of the national Palestinian consensus, is rejected,” the Palestinian businessman wrote.

The Palestinian minister of social development, Ahmad Majdalani, said to multiple sources that anyone who participates in the Manama conference will be dubbed as no more than a collaborator with the U.S. and Israel.

In the Gaza Strip, the ruling Islamist Hamas party which has been at odds with the Fatah party of Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, rejected and condemned the planned economic conference.

Current Economic Initiatives Are Nothing New

Speaking to Citizen Truth about the Manama gathering, the Gaza-based political analyst, Talal Aukal, said that such economic initiatives are not new.

“In fact, the conference will not achieve any goals, as the idea itself is not new. In the past, Palestinians have rejected Israeli offers for economic prosperity, at the expense of peace obligations, based on international legitimacy,” Aukal said.

He added that the Palestinian Authority will thwart any American attempts to impose an economic solution, rather than a political settlement for the conflict.

“It is likely that the PA will reactivate popular resistance against the Israeli occupation, across the West Bank, especially. Israel will likely take a unilateral step, mainly subjecting the occupied West Bank to Israel’s exclusive control,” Aukal told Citizen Truth.

He also made it clear that the PA will likely work with Washington in the fight against terrorism that is a part of American-Palestinian agreements.

Palestinian Authority Considers US Dollars Collected by Israel to Be Blackmail

Aukal’s perspective is the same as that of Dr. Hussam Aldajany, another Gaza-based political analyst.

“I do believe that the bold step needed is that the Palestinian Authority reaches a compromise with the rival Hamas party in Gaza. Palestinian unity is likely to happen. I believe that recent PA’s moves at the financial level, mainly asking some Arab countries like Qatar for funding, will be a step towards Palestinian reconciliation,” Aldajany told Citizen Truth.

Over the past few months, the Palestinian Authority has refrained from receiving hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars in tax money, collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. The PA refused what it terms Israeli blackmail or extortion – Israel deducted millions of U.S. dollars under the pretext of withholding funds for families of Palestinian prisoners or those killed by Israel over the past several years.

Although Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Oslo Peace Accords of 1993, Palestinians are governed by Israeli-imposed economic and movement restrictions.

Rami Almeghari

Rami Almeghari is a freelance independent writer, journalist and lecturer, based in the Gaza Strip. Rami has contributed in English to several media outlets worldwide, including print, radio and TV. He can be reached on facebook as Rami Munir Almeghari and on email as [email protected]

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