Washington has sent Israel an invitation to join an American-led Mideast peace conference in Bahrain, Channel 13 reported Monday, citing a senior Israeli official.
The invitation was sent as a hardcopy, which is en route to Israel in diplomatic mail channels, according to the report, adding that Israel was expected to attend.
Israel’s Finance Ministry had earlier told the Associated Press that it had not been invited.
However, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said Israel was open to attending.
“We have no problem sending representatives to Bahrain, but the problem, as always, is that the Palestinian side is not genuinely interested in economic benefits,” said Hotovely.
The Bahrain event, slated for June 25-26, has been billed by the White House as the first phase of its long-awaited Mideast peace plan, though terming it a “workshop.” The plan envisions large-scale investment and infrastructure work, much of it funded by wealthy Arab countries, in the Palestinian territories.
The Palestinians, who have boycotted American peacemaking initiatives for the past year, continued to be rejectionist, saying that economics could not be discussed without reference to the political questions, in particular a Palestinian state.
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday any American peace plan that ignores the issue of a Palestinian state is doomed to fail.
He also noted that the Palestinian Authority had not been consulted about the gathering in the Bahraini capital Manama.
Ahhmed Majdalani, the social development minister and a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee, said: “There will be no Palestinian participation in the Manama workshop.”
“Any Palestinian who would take part would be nothing but a collaborator for the Americans and Israel,” he said.
President Donald Trump’s Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, said it was “difficult to understand why the Palestinian Authority would reject a workshop designed to discuss a vision with the potential to radically transform lives and put people on a path toward a brighter future.
“History will judge the Palestinian Authority harshly for passing up any opportunity that could give the Palestinians something so very different, and something so very positive, compared to what they have today,” Greenblatt said.