Bahrain is set to be the center of the Middle Eastern world on June 25-26 when the country’s capital, Manama, hosts an economic investment conference intended to inject wealth into the Palestinian economy and lay foundation to Trump’s ‘deal of the century.’ The ‘Peace to Prosperity’ economic workshop announced on May 19 is a dual-effort between the US and Bahrain to “galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives” and “facilitate discussions on an ambitious, achievable vision and framework for a prosperous future for the Palestinian people and the region.”
Participating countries include Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, and a large contingent of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Russia and China, as well as Lebanon and Iraq will not be represented at the conference. Israel is yet to be formally invited to the summit, with senior adviser Jared Kushner reportedly delaying an official invitation until the list of Arab states in attendance is finalized.
Notably boycotting the workshop is the Palestinian Authority, who, despite being the focal interest and ultimate beneficiaries of the event, reject the legitimacy of the conference because “Palestine’s full economic potential can only be achieved by ending the Israeli occupation” according to Dr. Saeb Erekat, a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) diplomat. Various Palestinian trade organizations—accounting for nearly 80% of the Palestinian GDP—have likewise declined invitations to attend, namely the “Federation of Palestinian Businessmen Associations, Palestinian Federation of Industries, Palestinian Trade Center-PalTrade, the Palestinian Union of Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Business Women Forum-Palestine and the U.S.-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce,” similarly objecting due to the lack of promise of “freedom and sovereignty for Palestinians.”
The Palestinian leadership and major trade organizations are outright refusing to even entertain an influx of wealth into their impoverished land--as though a revitalized economy is a detriment to the wellbeing of the Palestinian people--until Israel is ceded to Palestinian control. Given the impossibility of the Palestinian’s demand of full control, the unwillingness of the leadership to hear out the economic plan at the summit certainly appears strange.
What government would blatantly reject a plan intended to augment the country’s economic standing? None, excepting the Palestinian leadership, because to do so is possibly the most obvious disservice to citizens and industry; yet for the Palestinians, it’s part of a much larger play:
The Palestinian ‘struggle,’ which has garnered so much favor among mainstream media and international supporters, thrives exclusively on the plight of the Palestinians and intense suffering which continues to be passed off as an outcome of alleged Israeli interventionism and discrimination. To the Palestinian leadership, a revitalized economy and regional stability would run wholly counter to the messages of despair at the hands of Israelis, and would distract from their prime objective of the destruction of Israel altogether. As evidenced by their attempt to block the Summit, the Palestinian government do not strive for a better society, but to mobilize their populace and the international community against Israel--at their own expense.