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Israel, Palestinian Authority won't attend Bahrain peace meeting

Ivan Levingston and Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Israel won't take part in a U.S.-led economic summit in Bahrain this month, an event seen as a first step in the Middle East peace plan being developed by the White House.

The decision against going to Bahrain was made in coordination between Israel and the U.S., according to an Israeli official in the prime minister's office.

The session, set for June 25-26, is meant to present an economic vision to the Palestinian people, and the U.S. doesn't want politics to overshadow economics, an American administration official said. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Israel's decision was reported earlier Monday by Axios.

The U.S. peace plan is being led by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser. In comments earlier this month, Kushner said the hope was that Palestinians "over time will become capable of governing."

The effort to engineer an economic aid plan is the less controversial part of the package: Release of Kushner's proposal for a political solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict has been repeatedly delayed and now isn't expected until sometime after a repeat Israel election in September.

Kushner has criticized Palestinian leaders, drawing a distinction between their long-time quest for an independent state and what he said was the Palestinian people's desire to live in peace and prosperity. He has made repeated trips to the Middle East to meet with Israeli and Arab leaders, but U.S. contact with the Palestinian leadership has all but ended.

 

The Palestinian Authority has said it would boycott the session in Bahrain, and Palestinian business organizations have also declined a U.S. invitation to attend.

Since Trump took office, he has walked back the long-standing U.S. commitment to Palestinian statehood, recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, closed the Palestine Liberation Organization's diplomatic mission in Washington and halted hundreds of millions of dollars of funding to the Palestinians.

(With assistance from Alyza Sebenius. Levingston reported from Tel Aviv and Wingrove from Washington.)

(c)2019 Bloomberg News

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Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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