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Palestinians take to the streets to protest Bahrain workshop, Trump peace plan

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declares major protests across the occupied Palestinian territories next week to coincide with the Bahrain workshop.

By Ahmad Al-Bazz

Dozens of Palestinians protesting the U.S.-led economic workshop to be held in Bahrain, as part of the Trump administration's in Ramallah, June 15, 2019. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinians in Ramallah protesting the U.S.-led economic workshop, to be held in Bahrain as part of the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” plan for ending the conflict, June 15, 2019. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Dozens of Palestinian activists and political representatives marched against the U.S. “Deal of the Century” and the upcoming Bahrain workshop in Ramallah city center on Saturday.

Protesters held Palestinian flags and signs condemning the American administration and the involvement of Arab countries — especially Bahrain, for hosting the workshop.

Scheduled for June 25-26 in Manama City, the event is billed as a gathering to boost the Palestinian economy.

“Peace comes by ending the occupation, not by illusions of economic development,” one of the signs read.

While marching, the Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr. Mustafa al-Barghouthi, said that “the whole Deal of the Century is nothing but an effort to liquidate Palestinian rights.” He added that the plan is an attempt “to legitimize illegal Israeli actions on the ground and violations of international law.”

Following the protest, Fatah, the Palestinian party of President Mahmoud Abbas, declared major actions and protests set to take place across the occupied Palestinian territories on June 24, 25 and 26, coinciding with the Bahrain workshop.

In a joint press statement released last week, Palestinian political parties stated that actions will be organized in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and in Palestinian refugee camps in the diaspora. “We refuse any solution that doesn’t consider fundamental Palestinian rights, including the right of return for refugees,” the parties noted in the statement.

Dozens of Palestinians protesting the U.S.-led economic workshop to be held in Bahrain, as part of the Trump administration's in Ramallah, June 15, 2019. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinians in Ramallah protesting the U.S.-led economic workshop to be held in Bahrain, as part of the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” plan for ending the conflict, June 15, 2019. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Trump introduced the “ultimate” Israel-Palestine peace deal in an interview with the Wall Street Journal during his presidential campaign in 2016. The details of the deal are yet to be announced. However, several media outlets have speculated that the plan would propose more autonomy for the Palestinian Authority in some parts of the West Bank, and allow for the expansion of Gaza by way of a lease of an area of land from Egypt.

In early May, Israel Hayom, the Israeli daily owned by Netanyahu’s patron, Sheldon Adelson, leaked details of a document that was circulating among members of Israel’s Foreign Ministry alleged to be part of the “deal of the century.” According to this unverified draft, which was translated and republished in Palestinian media outlets as well, Israel, the PLO and Hamas will sign a tripartite agreement to establish a Palestinian state called ‘The New Palestine,’ on land in the West Bank and Gaza, excluding Jewish settlements.

The leaked draft also stated that financial support for implementing the agreement — a budget of $30 billion over five years — will be divided such that 70 percent will be provided by the Gulf countries, 20 percent by the United States, and 10 percent by the European Union.

Saeb Erakat, the Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, has declared in a May 22 statement that the PA will not participate in the Bahrain workshop. The PA has reiterated its boycott of the workshop several times since, despite mounting pressure by Arab countries to participate. The PA has also urged Arab states, particularly Jordan and Egypt, not to take part in the U.S.-led summit.

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It is very clear that Palestinians across the board are rejecting the deal — even the Western-backed Palestinian Authority. This raises doubt about the chances of the plan succeeding without Palestinian participation.

Palestinian entrepreneur and businessman, Bashar Masri, said on his official Facebook page in mid-May that he declined an invitation to the Bahrain workshop. “The idea of economic peace is an old idea that is now being put forward differently, and as our people previously rejected it, we reject it now,” he wrote.

This article also appears in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    1. Rivka Koen

      “Trump peace plan” is about as close to “blackwhite” as we’ve ever gotten

      Reply to Comment