Palestinians ice cold on Trump peace deal, say won’t attend Bahrain meeting

“Any solution to the conflict must be based on ending the occupation,” PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said.

By Associated Press

The Palestinians are giving a cool reception to an American plan to hold a conference next month to unveil the first phase of its Mideast peace plan.

The White House announced Sunday that it will hold the gathering in Bahrain to discuss large-scale investment in the Palestinian territories. It said the conference will not address the contentious political aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as final borders, and the status of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said that “any plan without a political horizon will not lead to peace.”

Any solution to the conflict in Palestine must be political … and based on ending the occupation,” PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Monday at a Palestinian cabinet meeting. “The current financial crisis is a result of a financial war waged against us and we will not succumb to blackmailing and extortion and will not trade our national rights for money.”

Bashar Masri, a major Palestinian industrialist with vast business holdings throughout the West Bank, said he had turned down an invitation to the conference.

“I will not participate in this conference, and none of the representatives of our companies will participate,” he wrote on Facebook. “We reaffirm our clear position: We will not deal with any event outside the Palestinian national consensus.”

The Palestinians severed ties with the White House after President Donald Trump recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017. The U.S. has responded by cutting hundreds of millions of dollars of aid.

In a joint statement with Bahrain on Sunday, the White House said the conference will give government, civil and business leaders a chance to rally support for economic initiatives that could be possible with a peace agreement.

“The Palestinian people, along with all people in the Middle East, deserve a future with dignity and the opportunity to better their lives,” President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said in a statement.