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Palestinians will not attend US-sponsored conference in Bahrain: Minister

Palestine’s Minister of Social Development Ahhmed Majdalani says Palestinians will not participate in an economic conference sponsored by Washington in Bahrain next month as US President Donald Trump will unveil the first part of his so-called “deal of the century” to end the Palestine-Israel conflict during the summit.

“There will be no Palestinian participation in the Manama workshop,” he said at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

Majdalani, who is also a member of the executive committee of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said “Any Palestinian who would take part would be nothing but a collaborator for the Americans and Israel.”

Earlier in the day, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said that his government had not been consulted about “the reported workshop, neither over the content, nor the outcome, nor timing.”

Remarks by Majdalani and Shtayyeh came just a day after the White House announced that the first part of Trump’s so-called “peace plan,” which is spearheaded by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, would be unveiled in Bahrain’s capital, Manama.

The US will host the economic conference on June 25 and 26 to purportedly encourage investment in the occupied West Bank, and the besieged Gaza Strip.

Relations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the US took an unprecedented dip in late 2017, when Washington recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.” Since then, Palestinians have shown little interest in discussing a plan that they anticipate will fall far short of their core demands.

The Trump administration has said that its secret plan, which has been dismissed by Palestinian authorities even before being unveiled, would require compromise by both sides.

The PA, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, is facing steep aid cuts. Since being shunned by Palestinians, the White House has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars to humanitarian organizations.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. However, Israel insists on maintaining the occupation of Palestinian territories.

Also reacting to news of the upcoming conference, Bahrain’s main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, has described the US “deal of the century” as a plan to sell Jerusalem al-Quds and Palestine, slamming it as “high treason.”

The group criticized the ruling Al Khalifah regime for hosting the conference, saying that is a departure from all national, Islamic and humanitarian principles. 

واكدت الوفاق الرفض المطلق والتام من كل شعب البحرين بكل اطيافة و مكوناته لتدنيس البحرين وتحويلها الى محطة لتوقيع نسخة جديدة من وعد بلفور تحت مسميات مختلفة ومشاريع اجرامية ذات طابع ارهابي استيطاني للاستيلاء على قبلة المسلمين الاولى وتشريد شعوب عربية لصالح الكيان الصهيوني الغاصب.— Alwefaq Society (@ALWEFAQ) May 19, 2019

Trump has time and again called his plan as “The Deal of the Century,” but it is coincidentally the title of a 1983 comedy, which features a bunch of hapless arms dealers competing to sell a weapon, called the Peacemaker, to a South American dictator.

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