Palestinian Authority arrests Hebron businessman who attended US-led Bahrain workshop

The Palestinian Authority arrested one of the few Palestinian participants in the US-led Mideast peace conference after he returned to Hebron.

By World Israel News and AP

A Palestinian security official said intelligence forces detained businessman Saleh Abu Mayala in the city of Hebron for interrogation, without elaborating on the reason for the arrest.

Abu Mayala attended this week’s conference in Bahrain with a small group of Palestinian colleagues, led by businessman Ashraf Jabari, who has said in the past he does not fear threats from the Palestinian Authority (PA) or other factions based on his willingness to work with Israelis to improve the economic prospects of fellow Palestinians.

Aside from Jabari, the identities of the other Palestinian participants were not publicly announced, though a picture of some of them at the conference was widely circulated on social media.

Another participant, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said he and the other Palestinian attendees feel they are in “great danger,” having been threatened by the government and on social media.

A PA official told the Times of Israel he didn’t know the reason for the arrest, but conjectured that Ramallah might be trawling for intelligence on the Bahrain conference.

The PA has boycotted the Trump administration since its 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its relocation of the U.S. embassy to the city the following year.

The Trump administration has also halted aid to the Palestinians due to their refusal to resume peace negotiations with Israel.

The Palestinians consider Washington’s efforts to revive the negotiations with suspicion because the long-delayed American plan reportedly lacks terms they claim are non-negotiable.

In Bahrain, Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner revealed the economic part of the plan, promising $50 billion in projects and investments aimed at lowering Palestinian unemployment, doubling the Palestinian gross domestic product and reducing the Palestinian poverty rate by 50%.