Six Israeli media outlets on Wednesday received formal invitations to cover next week’s economic peace workshop in Bahrain, after weeks of uncertainty about the summit.
No Israeli officials were invited to the event, the US administration announced earlier this week, noting that, given then fact that Palestinian Authority refused to attend, the hosts did not want to politicize the event.
However, a number of Israeli businessmen and members of civil society organizations are expected to participate in the so-called Peace to Prosperity workshop.
Reporters had complained that organizers were not accrediting journalists to cover the conference, which is being hosted by the US and Bahrain in Manama early next week but has been plagued by uncertainty about who is attending.
At this rate it may also happen without press coverage, because the organizers still haven't confirmed to any of us in the Middle East where it's being held, if we're accredited, or if we have visas to enter the country https://t.co/XNmDirErC3
— Gregg Carlstrom (@glcarlstrom) June 17, 2019
A number of major news outlets in Israel were not invited to attend the summit despite requesting accreditation.
only the following media were invited: Haaretz, TOI, JP, Israel Hayom, Channel 12,13.
While @globesnews is a leading media on business, tech, infrastructure, commerce, banking and more it is disappointing that we shall not be allowed to take part. #PeaceToProsperity
— Tal Schneider טל שניידר تال شنايدر (@talschneider) June 19, 2019
The invitations were sent out by RokkSolutions, a Washington DC-based strategic communications company, which was hired to deal with media accreditation for the Manama summit.
Besides The Times of Israel, also invited were correspondents from Haaretz, Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom, as well as television channels 12 and 13.
Among the Israelis who will attend the workshop are Yoav “Polly” Mordechai, a former head of the Defense Ministry branch that is responsible for liaising with the Palestinians, and Professor Yitshak Kreiss, the director-general of Sheba Medical Center.
Next week’s Bahrain workshop is billed as the roll-out of the first part of the US administration’s forthcoming proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
The second part, which deals with the political aspects of the conflict, will likely not be published toward the end of the year, as the White House said it wants to wait until after a new Israeli government is formed. The Knesset elections are scheduled for September 17, and it usually takes several weeks for coalition negotiations to conclude.
Israel and Bahrain do not have formal diplomatic relations.
Initially, US and Israeli officials indicated that high-ranking members of the Israeli government would be invited to the event as well. But earlier this week, the White House said that no Israeli officials would be present in Manama.
“Israeli businessmen will be represented there, since it’s not a political meeting,” Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, told i24NEWS this week.
“Without the Palestinian Authority there, having the Israeli government there makes it more political. Our mission is really about unveiling the economic plan, showing it to the countries that would donate money down the road, if there were interested, showing it to the Palestinian people. There will be a time when we can benefit from the Israeli government expertise and knowledge. It doesn’t have to be next week.”
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the “important conference” in Bahrain, praising the US for trying to “bring about a better future” for the Middle East.
“Israelis will be present as well,” he added without providing further details.