Donald Trump's peace conference will fail, Palestinians say


Palestinian officials will not take part in a conference in Bahrain next month to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, senior ministers said on Monday.

The Trump administration has started to implement its multi-faceted plan to foster peace between Israel and the Palestinians, a process that will begin in June when Bahrain hosts a forum to promote economic development in key Palestinian territories, according to senior administration officials.

Gaza's ruling Hamas movement, shunned in the West for its hostility to Israel and locked in a power struggle with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's secular Fatah party, also condemned the Bahrain conference.

The Trump administration has said its still-secret peace plan would require compromise by both sides.

"No one can impose a deal on the Palestinians", al-Ajrami said.

Mr Erekat added that proposals should not be about "improving living conditions under occupation but about reaching Palestine's full potential by ending the Israeli occupation".

The Palestinian Authority, which cut off political contact with the United States more than a year ago, said it had not been consulted on the U.S. summit and would not accept an economic plan that was not tied to a political solution.

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"We do not submit to blackmail and we don't trade our political rights for money".

It will not address critical political disputes that have stalled previous attempts, including the final borders of a future Palestinian state, a decision over who controls Jerusalem and what happens to millions of Palestinian refugees. Trump has touted the forthcoming plan as the "deal of the century", but Palestinian officials have rebuked the United States effort, which they believe will be heavily biased in favour of Israel.

Israel calls Jerusalem its indivisible capital and said it might declare sovereignty in its West Bank settlements.

"We're looking not to make this about no discussion of the political" aspect of the plan at this time, the senior administration official said. 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 plan focuses on infrastructure, industry, empowering and investing in people and reforming the Palestinian government.

Administration officials described the plan as "very extensive and detailed", telling reporters that the economic and political portions of the plan will be presented in different forums because it is easier to digest in two different settings. "The Palestinian people, along with all people in the Middle East, deserve a future with dignity and the opportunity to better their lives".

"We look forward to engaging with business and thought leaders from throughout the region and the world to build consensus around the best steps the global community can take to develop the foundation for a prosperous future", he said in a statement.

Few details of the plan have previously been made public, but it has been widely reported that its political component will not include an independent Palestinian state, Haaretz said.