FILE PHOTO: Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh gestures as he arrives for a cabinet meeting of the new Palestinian government, in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – The Palestinians have not been consulted about a U.S.-led conference in Bahrain next month designed to encourage international investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday.
Washington announced the conference on Sunday, describing it as the unveiling of the first part of President Donald Trump’s long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
The Palestinians, who have boycotted the Trump administration since it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late 2017, have shown little interest in discussing the plan.
“The cabinet wasn’t consulted about the reported workshop, neither over the content, nor the outcome nor timing,” Shtayyed told Palestinian ministers in the presence of reporters.
He did not immediately say whether Palestinians would attend the June 25-26 event in Manama, which U.S. officials have predicted will include representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as some finance ministers.
Shtayyeh reiterated Palestinians’ core demands for a two-state peace deal with Israel, which include gaining full control of the occupied West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza, as well as East Jerusalem. Israel calls Jerusalem its indivisible capital and said it might declare sovereignty in its West Bank settlements.
The Trump administration has said its still-secret peace plan would require compromise by both sides. Since being shunned by the Palestinians, it has cut back on U.S. aid for them, contributing to economic hardship in the West Bank and Gaza.
“The financial crisis the Palestinian Authority is living through today is a result of the financial war that is being launched against us in order to win political concessions,” Shtayyeh told the cabinet. “We do not submit to blackmail and we don’t trade our political rights for money.”
Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi