Jun. 23, 2019
They’ve rejected every peace initiative. Their no-show this week in Bahrain should be the last.
This week’s U.S.-led Peace to Prosperity conference in Bahrain on the Palestinian economy will likely be attended by seven Arab states—a clear rebuke to foreign-policy experts who said that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the Golan Heights as Israeli territory would alienate the Arab world. Sunni Arab states are lending legitimacy to the Trump administration’s plan, making it all the more notable that the Palestinian Authority itself refuses to participate.
The conference’s only agenda is improving the Palestinian economy. It isn’t tied to any diplomatic package, and the plan’s 40-page overview contains nothing at odds with the Palestinian’s purported diplomatic goals. Some aspects are even politically uncomfortable for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Given all that, the Palestinian Authority’s unwillingness to discuss economic opportunities for its own people, even with the Arab states, shows how far it is from discussing the concessions necessary for a diplomatic settlement. Instead it seeks to deepen Palestinian misfortune and use it as a cudgel against Israel in the theater of international opinion.
This isn’t the first time the Palestinians have said no.