Israeli businessmen tout ‘relationships’ with Arab investors formed in Bahrain

An Israeli businessman said he and Arab investors at the Bahrain conference discussed plans to create joint Israeli-Palestinian industrial zones.

By World Israel News Staff 

Last week’s U.S.-led economic workshop in Bahrain, which was designed to promote development of the Palestinian territories and the broader Middle East, produced burgeoning ties between Arab investors and Israeli businessmen, according to a magnate from the Jewish state quoted by Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

According to the Qatar-based pan-Arab news outlet, “For some Israelis in attendance, the two-day event in Manama – called the ‘Peace to Prosperity’ workshop – presented a unique opportunity to establish relationships with Arab investors similarly interested in launching projects” in Judea and Samaria.

Shlomi Fogel, an Israeli businessman quoted by Al Jazeera, explained that he was invited by the White House to Bahrain and found the workshop to be “amazing.”

“[Fogel] discussed his plans with potential Arab investors to create industrial zones operated jointly by Israel and the Palestinians,” reports Al Jazeera, adding that Fogel said that the meeting allowed him to “develop relationships with investors from Saudi Arabia and the [United Arab Emirates].”

Eyal Erlich, an Israeli businessman who did not attend the workshop, is also cited in the report.  He is said to have connections in the Palestinian business sector and expressed the “hope that the Manama workshop would be a step towards helping the Palestinian population, especially in Gaza.”

Though it would be one of the prime beneficiaries if economic plans succeeded, the Palestinian Authority boycotted the Bahrain workshop.

“We need the economic [support], the money and the assistance, but before everything, there is a political solution,” said Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas before the conference convened.

“We understand that you cannot have an economic plan without a political plan, but similarly you cannot have a political plan without an economic vision,” countered Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations.