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June 11, 2019 1:49 pm

Why Is the PA So Opposed to the Bahrain Conference?

avatar by Pinhas Inbari / JNS.org

Opinion

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Feb. 6, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.

JNS.org – The Palestinian Authority’s Labor Ministry is currently busy slandering Israel to the United Nations International Labor Organization, accusing it of robbing Palestinians working in Israel proper of their rights.

Besides being outrageous — they should be thanking Israel for taking security risks to employ PA citizens, something the failing PA is either unable or unwilling to do — this incident also reveals the true reason the PA is so opposed to the upcoming US-sponsored economic conference in Bahrain.

The UN framework includes most of the international organizations that have an automatic majority against Israel. By relying on this framework, the PLO has hoped to force Israel to make concessions it otherwise would not, for example with regard to the 1967 borders or the refugee question.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s recent remarks on Israeli claims in Judea and Samaria only intensified Palestinian concerns regarding the loss of a primary lever for putting pressure on Israel, specifically, the United Nations and the international organizations connected with it.

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The Bahrain conference is a regional framework outside the parameters of the UN. Therefore, Palestinian participation in it would be tantamount to an admission that the PLO’s UN strategy has failed.

Furthermore, the Bahrain conference will focus on the Arab and Palestinian private sector. The private sector is perceived as having interests contrary to the “national interest” of the “Palestinian struggle.” The private sector wants stability. The “struggle” seeks instability.

The PLO has launched a series of “emergency meetings” on the issue. Palestinian diplomats are trying to rally the support of the countries in the United Nations, in the “third world,” China, and Russia, and are also seriously considering issuing a denunciation of the Arab countries supporting US President Donald Trump. However, they are very wary of displaying open discord with these Arab countries.

Another option to be discussed by the Palestinian Authority is a return to the Arab “masses” exerting pressure on their leadership.

The Bahrain assembly needs to inform the “Palestinian leadership” that the “Arab masses” have other troubles, and are no longer interested in the Palestinians.

Pinhas Inbari is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper. He currently serves as an analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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