White House begins 'peace plan' roll out with Bahrain-hosted economic workshop

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye also said earlier Monday that "we were not consulted about the economic meeting in Bahrain", and declared that Palestinians reject U.S. Middle East peace deal, saying "resolving the conflict in Palestine will only be through a political solution". However, for the moment, Israeli and Palestinian officials have not commented.

The Palestinian Authority said the United States did not consult them before announcing the conference, expressing their frustration at the lack of communication.

But while Trump wants to kill two birds with one stone-bend the peace plan to Israel's will while providing guarantees for better economic prospects for Palestinians, the Palestinian leadership is not buying Trump's idea.

Washington has decided to make a move for its long-drummed peace plan for Palestinians and Israelis through an "economic workshop" that aims to rally wealthy investors from Europe and the Middle East in Bahrain next month to lay out a financial plan.

The Palestinian Authority has boycotted Trump's peace efforts since Trump made a decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Officials said a second phase involving political solutions is planned for an announcement later this year. He also denied reports that there was no political plan, only an economic one.

USA officials have predicted the event will include representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as some finance ministers.

Britain's May stands by promise to resign after phase one of Brexit
May has so far remained in office, refusing on Wednesday to offer her lawmakers a timetable detailing her plans to resign. The Labour leader is expected to set out the party's position on the circumstances in which it would back a second vote.

The "Peace to Prosperity" workshop will focus heavily on improving the economic prosperity of the Palestinian people and the region. It said the conference would not address the contentious political aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, such as final borders or the status of Jerusalem and right of return for Palestinian refugees.

"Any economic plan without political horizons will lead nowhere", Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a Palestinian spokesman, told CNN.

Having been previously adamant that Trump's Jerusalem move definitely disqualified him as a "serious and reliable broker", the Palestinian diplomat said in reaction to the planned deal that Palestinians will not engage with Trump's peace terms.

The Manama conference is meant to show the people of Gaza, which is controlled by the Hamas terrorist group, that "there are donor countries around the world willing to come in and make investments", the senior American official said. The plan is likely to call for billions of dollars in financial backing for Palestinians, mostly from oil-rich Gulf states, according to people informed about the discussions.

"Attempts at promoting an economic normalisation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine will be rejected", Erekat said.

Shtayyeh reiterated Palestinians' demands for a two-state peace deal with Israel entailing control of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as East Jerusalem as their future capital. "We look forward to presenting our vision on ways to bridge the core political issues very soon".

The eventual peace plan is expected to feature proposals for regional economic development that would include Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

  • Sonia Alvarado