We need the money, but won’t be slaves to Trump peace team, Abbas says
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We need the money, but won’t be slaves to Trump peace team, Abbas says

Palestinian leader predicts Bahrain conference will fail, rails at US for leaving out political solution

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with journalists, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 23, 2019. (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with journalists, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 23, 2019. (ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday he was confident a peace conference this week in Bahrain would fail.

“We are certain that the workshop in Manama will not be successful,” Abbas, who is boycotting the US-led conference focused on the Palestinian economy, told journalists.

The US government on Saturday unveiled the economic part of the peace plan it will present in Bahrain on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the aim of raising more than $50 billion for the Palestinians and creating one million jobs within a decade.

Abbas’s government already rejected the proposal, saying the dispute with Israel is political, and accusing the US of seeking to buy Palestinian support.

“We will not be slaves or servants for Greenblatt, Kushner and Friedman,” Abbas told journalists at his presidential office in Ramallah, referring to US President Donald Trump’s negotiating team, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

“We need the economic (support), the money and the assistance, but before everything there is a political solution,” he said.

“For America to turn the whole cause from a political issue into an economic one, we cannot accept this.”

Abbas, 84, cut off ties with the US administration in December 2017, after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US National Security Adviser John Bolton tour the Jordan Valley on June 23, 2019. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said he would hear out the Trump administration’s peace plan “fairly” and with “openness,” as he stressed that Israel would never relinquish its security presence in the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu also chided the Palestinians for preemptively rejecting the US proposal before its rollout, in his first comments since the US revealed the economic part of its plan a day earlier.

“I cannot understand how the Palestinians, before they even heard the plan, reject it outright,” Netanyahu said. “That’s not the way to proceed.”

Despite the official PA boycott, approximately 10 Palestinians from the business world will attend the US-led economic workshop in Bahrain later this week, according to an Israeli-American businessman, who said he will participate in the conference as an adviser to the delegation.

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