Palestinian Businessmen Boycott Economic Conference in Bahrain

Ramallah, MINA – Palestinian businessmen are boycotting economic conferences initiated by the United States (US) in Bahrain. They considered that the conference could spearhead Middle East peace as planned by President Donald Trump.

The US has called on Palestinian and Arab leaders to come at meeting in Bahrain on June 25-26. Palestinian businessmen along with politicians say their political demands must be addressed to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Chairman of Paltrade business association in the West Bank and Gaza, Arafat Asfour said, there were still some unresolved political issues. For example, Israeli restrictions on the movement of goods and people in the occupied territories, which have long deterred foreign investment.

“How (can you) expect people to invest in Palestine if they don’t have access? “If they don’t have control, if they don’t have a legal framework, a business environment, to protect their business,” Asfour said on Wednesday, as quoted from Republika online.

CEO Safad, an IT company based in Ramallah, Ibrahim Barham said they had sided with Israel on the political side. Meanwhile, they want to talk to Palestine only for economic problems. “That’s not the right way,” Barham said.

Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization have rejected the Bahrain initiative. The refusal followed after a year and a half they refused to deal with the Trump administration, because it was considered biased towards Israel.

Director of Palestinian Survey and Policy Research Center, Pollster Khalil Shikaki said, nearly 80 percent of Palestinians believe Trump’s plan would not end Israeli occupation in the West Bank.

“It’s not that Palestinians or business leaders aren’t interested in improving the economic conditions of Palestinians. It’s a concern that what Americans are trying to do is give Palestinians the choice between their political rights or their economic rights. They want both, and they don’t want to do a trade off, “Shikaki said. (T/Sj/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)