Roundup: Palestinians largely reject U.S. economic workshop in Bahrain next month

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-20 23:36:35|Editor: yan
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RAMALLAH/GAZA, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinians rejected on Monday an economic workshop announced earlier by the United States to be held in Manama, Bahrain to find financial support for the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Media reported that a joint Bahraini-U.S. statement announced on Sunday night that Manama will host, in partnership with Washington, an economic workshop entitled "Peace for Prosperity" on June 25 and 26.

"The workshop is an opportunity for a meeting of government leaders, civil society organizations and the business sector to share ideas and visions and discuss strategies to stimulate investment and possible economic initiatives while achieving peace in the region," the statement said.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammad Ishtaye said as he chaired the weekly meeting of cabinet held in the city of Ramallah that resolving the conflict in Palestine is "political and not financial," adding that "any solution to the Palestinian question much be based on ending the Israeli occupation."

"Any peaceful solution should depend basically on ending the occupation and gaining the national rights of the Palestinians, mainly establishing an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital and gaining the right of return," Ishtaye said.

He clarified that the PA cabinet hasn't been consulted on holding such a workshop.

The PA severed its political contacts and ties with the United States after U.S. President Donald Trump announced in December 2017 recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transferring the U.S. embassy to the city on May 14.

Since the declaration, the Palestinians have been calling for an international mechanism to push forward peace negotiations with Israel, which has already been stalled between the two sides since 2014, after nine months of U.S.-sponsored talks that did not lead to any development.

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat Monday said in a statement "on behalf of the PLO Executive Committee, I confirm that we were not consulted by any party on the announced meeting to take place in Manama, Bahrain."

He further added that all the attempts to promote an economic normalization of the Israeli occupation "will be rejected."

The top PLO official said that reaching peace "is not about improving living conditions under occupation but about reaching Palestine's full potential by ending the Israeli occupation."

Jameel Mezher, member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Gaza, told Xinhua that the PFLP affirms that all the steps, measures and procedures, mainly holding an economic workshop next month, is "an attempt to bribe our people after imposing a siege on them."

Israel has been imposing a blockade on the Gaza Strip, home for 2 million Palestinians, since 2007 after Hamas movement violently seized control of the coastal enclave. The Israeli blockade and an internal Palestinian division negatively influence daily life in Gaza.