Palestinians Reject U.S.-Bahrain Peace Plan as Israel Advises 'Surrender'


The Palestinians on Monday vowed to reject a U.S.-led peace initiative to be presented in Bahrain that dangles the prospect of $50 billion as an Israeli envoy bluntly told them they should "surrender."

Finance chiefs from the United States, oil-rich Arab states and international development institutions were flying to the tiny kingdom, which in a rarity is openly welcoming Israelis, who have forged an indirect alliance with Gulf rulers due to mutual hostility with Iran.

Led by President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, the Peace to Prosperity economic workshop that begins Tuesday evening is billed as the start of a new approach that will later include political solutions to the long intractable Middle East conflict.

It proposes raising more than $50 billion in fresh investment for the Palestinians and their Arab neighbours with major projects to boost infrastructure, education, tourism and cross-border trade.

The Palestinian Authority is boycotting the workshop, denouncing the plan for saying nothing about ending the Israeli occupation.

"This economic workshop in Bahrain is really going to be nonsense," Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told a cabinet meeting.

"What Israel and the United States are trying to do now is simply to normalize relations with the Arabs at the expense of the Palestinians," he added.

President Mahmoud Abbas has said the Palestinians "will not be slaves or servants" of Kushner or other Trump aides.

"For America to turn the whole cause from a political issue into an economic one, we cannot accept this," he said.

- 'Palestinian surrender' -

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, criticized the Palestinian leadership for declaring that the plan amounted to surrender.

"I ask: What's wrong with Palestinian surrender?" he wrote in an opinion piece in The New York Times.

"Surrender is the recognition that in a contest, staying the course will prove costlier than submission," he said.

Denouncing both the "corrupt" Palestinian Authority and Hamas militants who control the Gaza Strip, Danon noted that Palestinian unemployment remained stubbornly high despite years of international assistance.

"Given this woeful state of affairs, it is self-evident that the Palestinian people need a new course of action," Danon wrote, charging that Palestinian national identity was "motivated not by building a better life for its people but by destroying Israel."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has spoken of annexing parts of the West Bank, also took the Palestinians to task.

"I don't understand how the Palestinians rejected the plan even before knowing what it contained," Netanyahu said Sunday as he hosted Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton.

"That's not how you move forward," Netanyahu said.

The Trump administration says it will later release political proposals -- perhaps as late as November once Israel holds new elections and forms a government.

But Trump officials have hinted their approach will not mention the creation of an independent Palestinian state, a goal of U.S. diplomacy for decades.

- Financial woes -

The Palestinian Authority is facing growing financial strains as it refuses to accept tax revenue collected on its behalf by Israel because Israeli authorities are deducting millions of dollars that went to prisoners in Israeli jails or their families.

Arab League finance ministers on Sunday renewed a pledge to pay $100 million a month to the Palestinian Authority to stabilise its finances.

But in an implicit rebuke to the U.S. approach, they insisted on "complete Arab support to the Palestinian state's economic, political and financial independence."

Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir said the Bahrain workshop "is not about buying peace."

"In no way is this about forcing the Palestinians to accept an agreement that they don't like and to draw a connection -- you accept this and you'll get that," he told Le Monde on a visit to France.

The promises of massive investment come months after the U.S. Agency for International Development suspended its work in the Palestinian territories due to U.S. legislation that makes US aid recipients liable to anti-terrorism lawsuits.

The Trump administration has also ended all funding to the U.N. agency that provides education, medicine and food to Palestinian refugees and has taken a series of landmark decisions on behalf of Israel.

In December 2017, Trump recognised bitterly disputed Jerusalem as Israel's capital, leading the Palestinians to cut off contact with the United States.

Aaron David Miller, a veteran U.S. negotiator on the Middle East, said the idea of a major economic plan for the Palestinians was not new.

"Had Trump administration not spent the last two years waging an economic/political pressure campaign against the Palestinians and undermined their aspirations on statehood/Jerusalem, the plan would have made sense," he said.

Comments 6
Thumb whyaskwhy 24 June 2019, 20:02

Gotta love how a solution for the Palestinians will be paid for every single nation in the Arab world lol

Missing issa89 24 June 2019, 23:22

Just like other "peace deals" that call for recognizing israel while also having the Palestinians give up more of their rights, this will fail. Israel and arab dictators will be defeated. Not by hezbollah and hamas, not by terrorists nor by "activists". Simply, when their time comes, God will create situations that will destroy them. 70 years is nothing compared to history. It wasen't long ago when the soviet union fell. Heck, who thought Mubarak would be removed all of a sudden? A few month prior to his defeat, things looked stable for him. God prepares things and then suddenly it's fruit appears. Those who have gotten used to slavery will mock this of course but it won't change anything.

Thumb whyaskwhy 24 June 2019, 23:56

Your God has not been giving the Arabs or Palestinians a lot of his time in the last 100 years Issa... they have been in a state of decline and 5 more of the same God wont do them much good at this point. Could try another one for a change lol maybe he will give them the power and the glory their fruitful culture deserves?

Missing bigjohn 25 June 2019, 00:15

Your racist Zionist Jewish god will lead you to the end of an ethnic cleansing apartheid state peacefully, violently or both.

Missing bigjohn 24 June 2019, 23:52

No one will invest in an occupied territory that is under siege and with hundreds of check points. The two states apartheid solution separate and unequal is DEAD. Next year the Christians and Muslim Arabs in ALL of Palestine will become a majority without including the Millions who are forced to live in exile because they are NOT Jewish. The Palestinians have always been a majority, but the West never included those living in exile. In 1948, ethnic cleansing turned a foreign born Jewish minority into a majority by ethnic cleansing. But, today that is no longer acceptable. For how long is the West going to support a minority Apartheid regime after 2020?

Missing bigjohn 24 June 2019, 23:53

The PNA collaborationists MUST dissolve. Mandela would have remained in jail then accept a minority Apartheid rule.