PM slams PA for boycotting conference centered on advancing their economy; Netanyahu praises support from Bahrain, criticizes PA arrest of Palestinian businessman who attended the event in Manama: Abbas: Palestine not for sale.

Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the Palestinian’s boycott of President Trump’s Bahrain workshop but praised warming ties with Arab states, mainly Bahrain. He quoted Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, who claimed following the conference, “Israel is a country of the Middle East. Israel is part of the heritage of this whole region. The Jewish people have a place amongst us. The Israeli public needs to trust that there are countries in the region that do want to have peace and to encourage the Palestinians to do it.”

Netanyahu referred to his remarks as a “very important statement,” as well as “the direct result of our policy, which is turning Israel into a rising regional and global power.” On Israel’s growing ties with Arab states, he stated during his weekly cabinet meeting from Jerusalem on Sunday, “we are drawing closer to the Arab states, and are gradually normalizing relations with them, and a time when we praised the Bahrain conference that was designed first and foremost to lead to economic prosperity for the Palestinians and the entire region, at the same time, the Palestinians repeatedly attacked the conference in contradiction of their own interests.”

He added, “One thing is clear from all this: The Palestinians are determined to continue the conflict at any price, including that of the well-being of the Palestinians themselves. This is not how those who want to advance peace should act. In contrast, we are continuing to advance ties with the Arab world, including today, and this serves everyone.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) arrested a Palestinian businessman who attended the conference in Manama last week. Salah Abu Mayala was detained upon his return to the West Bank but released a few days following due to pressure from the United States. Netanyahu addressed the event, stating, “His only crime was that he attended an economic conference designed to advance the Palestinian economy.” He is reportedly one of 15 businessmen to have attended President Trump’s initiative.

During a meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, PA President Mahmoud Abbas continued with his slogan of “Palestine is not for sale,” claiming on Thursday, “national rights are not pieces of real estate that are purchased and sold and reaching a political solution that guarantees freedom, dignity, independence and justice for our people must precede any economic programs or efforts because that will create stability and security for everyone.”

Photo: Frederic Legrand – COMEO/