Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Israel’s developing ties with Arab countries in the Middle East while slamming the Palestinian Authority (PA) for “continuing the conflict at any price.”
The Peace to Prosperity Economic workshop in Manama, Bahrain, concluded last week. A delegation of 12 Arabs from the PA attended the summit and has been facing threats from the PA since.
During the event, Israeli journalists received unprecedented access to top officials from Arab countries.
Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa, in his first interview with the Israeli media, stated that “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 do encourage the Palestinians to do it.”
Welcoming the comments during the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said that “this is a very important statement. It is the direct result of our policy, which is turning Israel into a rising regional and global power.”
Netanyahu has stated on several occasions that Israel’s status as a developing global economic, military and technology empire has changed the Arab world’s attitude towards it and made it attractive to them.
However, “at a time when 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,” Netanyahu stated.
The US-sponsored Peace to Prosperity Workshop is considered a major step towards the unveiling of President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the Middle East. The PA had called on Arab countries and businessmen to boycott it.
Furthermore, the PA on Saturday night arrested a PA businessman who participated in the summit and later released him due to American pressure.
“His only crime was that he attended an economic conference designed to advance the Palestinian economy,” Netanyahu charged.
“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,” he added.
“In contrast, we are continuing to advance ties with the Arab world, including today, and this serves everyone,” he concluded.