The Palestinians perpetrate the conflict, ignoring the well-being of their own people, while Israel advances ties with the Arab world, to everyone’s benefit, Netanyahu said after the Bahrain conference.
By Adina Katz, World Israel News
In the aftermath of last week’s U.S.-led “Peace to Prosperity” conference in Bahrain, which was boycotted by the Palestinian Authority (PA), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Sunday morning cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that while the PA ignored the event, to the detriment of its own people, Israel continually works to enhance its relationship with the Arab world.
The Bahrain summit focused on the economic side of the Trump administration’s “deal of the century,” with a $50 billion initiative posted to the White House website two days ahead of the event.
“At a time when we are drawing closer to the Arab states and are gradually normalizing relations with them, and a time when we praised the Bahrain conference that was designed first and foremost to lead to economic prosperity for the Palestinians and the entire region, at the same time, the Palestinians repeatedly attacked the conference in contradiction of their own interests,” he said.
The U.S. plan is aimed at doubling the Palestinian gross domestic product, reducing the Palestinian poverty rate by 50 percent and cutting the Palestinian unemployment rate drastically.
“Generations of Palestinians have lived under adversity and loss, but the next chapter can be defined by freedom and dignity,” the White House said, calling the plan “the most ambitious international effort for the Palestinian people to date.”
Nevertheless, the Palestinians slammed the event and even arrested a businessman who attended notwithstanding the PA boycott. They later released the man, apparently under pressure from the U.S.
“One thing is clear from all this,” Netanyahu stated on Sunday. “The Palestinians are determined to continue the conflict at any price, including that of the well-being of the Palestinians themselves. This is not how those who want to advance peace should act. In contrast, we are continuing to advance ties with the Arab world, including today, and this serves everyone.”
Indeed, the Foreign Minister of Bahrain expressed support for Israel and the Jewish people, Netanyahu told his cabinet ministers.
“I would like you to hear what the Foreign Minister of Bahrain said last week: ‘Israel is a country of the Middle East. Israel is part of the heritage of this whole region. The Jewish People have a place amongst us. The Israeli public needs to trust that there are countries in the region that do want to have peace and do encourage the Palestinians to do it.’
“This is a very important statement,” Netanyahu stressed, adding that it “is the direct result of our policy, which is turning Israel into a rising regional and global power.”
The Israeli leader also touched on the situation at the Gaza border, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists continue to send incendiary balloons into southern Israel, launching fires that have destroyed many acres of land. At the end of last week, Israel agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Egypt and the U.N., expanded the Gaza fishing area and resumed the transferring of diesel into the Strip, despite criticism from opposition parties and protests by southern residents.
“We have turned into a place where the enemy can do as he pleases, and if there’s a ceasefire agreement, it seems that the prime minister does not have to update us,” Gadi Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol regional council, stated, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman described the ceasefire agreement as “capitulation.”
Netanyahu dismissed the criticism, saying, “I am not impressed by the propaganda of so-called experts. Many of them are offering us advice that they themselves would not implement if they were in power. Let us not be confused, they would be the first to criticize us after we set out on a wide-ranging military operation, which we may yet have to do. Therefore, I am guided solely by one thing – the security of the State of Israel.”