A senior leader of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has strongly condemned the forthcoming US-led conference in Bahrain in support of President Donald Trump’s controversial proposal for “peace” between the Israeli regime and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century,” saying it amounts to Arab “normalization” of ties with the occupying Israeli regime.
Addressing representatives of foreign media in Gaza City on Thursday, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas political bureau, said that the upcoming confab, which is scheduled for June 25-26, are in line with US and Israeli attempts to pull the plug on the Palestinian national project, and aims to downgrade the Palestinian cause from the issue of people looking for freedom and independence to economic and humanitarian woes.
Haniyeh then called on Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah “not to hold this workshop,” vowing protests “in all Palestinian land and beyond.”
“We clearly express our rejection and non-acceptance of any Arab or Islamic country holding such a conference, which constitutes normalization with the occupation,” the senior Palestinian official pointed out.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh has described the US-sponsored economic workshop in Bahrain as a “strategic mistake,” arguing that the event will pave the way for Arab normalization of relations with the Tel Aviv regime whilst it continues to occupy Palestinian land and refuses to withdraw in defiance of the Arab Peace Initiative.
The Arab Peace Initiative, proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2002, calls on Israel to agree to a two-state solution along the 1967 lines and a “just” solution to the Palestinian refugee issue. The initiative has been repeatedly endorsed by the Arab League in 2002, 2007, and 2017.
Abu Rudeineh then termed Bahrain workshop as a provocative move, emphasizing that such bids would further escalate tensions in the Middle East, which is already plagued by war and conflict, and would reach a point of no return.
He went on to say that Palestinians will not negotiate under pressure, threats or dictation. “Any step must be accepted by the Palestinian people and its leadership,” the senior Palestinian official highlighted.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday that the Bahrain conference is doomed to failure in the face of the Palestinian nation’s resistance and steadfastness.
“The Manama economic workshop, which the United States plans to hold this month, is an attempt to replace the principle of land for peace with the principle of money for peace,” the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi daily newspaper quoted Erekat, who is also the Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as saying.
He condemned the US policy toward the Palestinian issue, predicting the failure of the upcoming confab.
“The United States has already implemented the political part of the deal of the century by recognizing al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel, transferring its embassy to the city, legitimizing settlements, trying to destroy UNRWA [the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] and recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
“Only the economic aspect remains. They (Americans) want to replace the principle of land for peace with money for peace,” Erekat pointed out.
The PLO and Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the Bahrain confab.
Hamas, in a statement issued on May 20, also called on Arab countries to provide the Palestinian people with every support to confront and frustrate the “deal of the century.”
“We are following with great concern the American announcement about holding an economic workshop next June in the Bahraini capital of Manama,” Hamas said, describing it as the first American confab in support of the so-called deal of the century.
The movement also denounced any Arab participation in adopting and executing the deal, saying any attendance in the American-led Bahrain conference would be considered a deviation from Arab and Islamic values.
Trump’s “peace plan” has already been dismissed by Palestinian authorities ahead of its unveiling.
Speaking in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on April 16, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh lashed out at the initiative, asserting it was “born dead.”