PA, US Administration Clash over Economic Workshop
US Peace Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt slammed Tuesday the Palestinian Authority (PA) after Palestinian officials announced they would not participate in the economic workshop in Bahrain.
Dubbed the “Peace to Prosperity” workshop, the gathering will take place on June 25-26 in Manama, during which the administration of US President Donald Trump will unveil the first part of the Deal of the Century, a proposal to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“It’s difficult to understand why the Palestinian Authority would reject a workshop designed to discuss a vision with the potential to radically transform lives and put people on a path toward a brighter future,” said Greenblatt.
“History will judge the Palestinian Authority harshly for passing up any opportunity that could give the Palestinians something so very different, and something so very positive, compared to what they have today.”
His comments came in response to PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh’s announcement on Monday that Palestinians and their leaders were not seeking an improvement of living conditions “under the occupation.”
Shtayyeh along with other Palestinian officials said the PA would not participate in the Manama conference for not being consulted.
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat responded to Greenblatt's comments by wondering why he has expressed surprise at the Palestinian position.
“The political aspect of the US deal was implemented by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the US embassy, dropping the refugee case and the Palestinian people's right to self-determination, closing the PLO's headquarters in Washington and the US consulate in Jerusalem, not to mention cutting aid and considering settlement a legitimate act and approving the annexation of large parts of the West Bank,” he said.
“After all these moves, they come now to strike the deal in order to determine the price to be paid to Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Resurrection,” Erekat stressed, noting that Palestinians will certainly refuse to attend the workshop.
Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa reiterated his country's support for “an independent [Palestinian] state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
He said the conference comes as part of Bahrain’s efforts to help Palestinians boost their resources in order to “fulfill their legitimate aspirations.”