News Analysis: Observers see Bahrain workshop as failure, forecast moves against Palestinians

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-28 01:08:35|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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RAMALLAH, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The failure has emerged from a workshop organized by the U.S. administration in Bahrain over the past two days to discuss the economic aspects of Washington's plan to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, known as the "Deal of the Century," Palestinian observers said.

The conference was held under the title "Peace to Prosperity" and attended by 39 countries, including a limited number of Arab countries, while the Palestinian Authority boycotted it.

Ghassan al-Khatib, the political science professor at Beir Zeit University in the West Bank, said "the American workshop in Bahrain has failed beyond our expectations."

"The conference produced no practical results, because the participation of official delegations was low, and was forced to postpone the Deal of the Century again," Khatib said.

Weeks ago, U.S. officials announced postponement of the political part of the "Deal of Century" until the end of 2019 because of the failure to form a new coalition government in Israel, which pushed Israel to hold new parliamentary elections in September.

Khatib said that the U.S. administration tried to mobilize the political and media supports for the Bahrain conference "to reduce the embarrassment of the repeated failure of the Deal of the Century," explaining that the economic plan "is unrealistic and not based on a competent and logical study."

He said that the Bahrain workshop came out with the lack of opportunities for normalization between the Arab countries and Israel, as the current Israeli government Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to normalize relations with Arab countries away from the Palestinian issue.

Khatib expected that the U.S. administration and Israel will increase their pressure in the next stage on the Palestinians, who succeeded in failing the Bahrain conference despite the political and financial war they are facing.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestinian businessmen boycotted the Bahrain workshop and rejected any U.S. economic plan without a political track that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and ending the Israeli occupation.

The Bahrain workshop aimed to raise 50 billion U.S. dollars through financial investments over 10 years, double the Palestinian GDP and create more than 1 million jobs for the Palestinians.

The head of the Palestine Investment Fund, Mohammed Mustafa, told Xinhua that Washington's offer of economic solutions without a political horizon was a "failed path" and would not be accepted by the Palestinians.

"The political solution is the basis of any settlement of the Palestinian issue, and talking about economic path and development programs without understanding the determinants of the political situation does not mean anything, and we cannot talk about investments without knowledge of who has sovereignty over land and resources," Mustafa said.

The PA has boycotted the U.S. administration since President Donald Trump recognized on Dec. 6, 2017 Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the U.S. embassy there on May 14, 2018.

Moreover, the U.S. administration has cut its financial aid to the PA, which is suffering from a deepening financial crisis due to a drop in international support and a tax revenue crisis with Israel.

Hani Al-Masri, a Ramallah-based political observer, told Xinhua that the Bahrain workshop was held as a "wedding without a bridegroom" in light of the Palestinian consensus rejecting participation.

"The Bahrain workshop failed to achieve any practical results because what the U.S. administration is trying to do under the name of the Deal of the Century is an attempt to achieve prosperity under occupation and this is impossible," he said.

Al-Masri added that the political part of the U.S. deal is to "perpetuate the Israeli occupation and seek to liquidate the Palestinian cause in exchange for improving the lives of Palestinians and integrating Israel in the Arab region."

He warned that the U.S. economic deal did not mention the role of PA, "which strongly raises speculation about a possible plan by Washington to begin to override the PA and replace it if it is not subject."