Community leaders say the meeting is an attempt to give ‘Arab cover’ to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II has told US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner that a lasting Middle East peace can only come with the creation of a Palestinian state on land captured by Israel in a 1967 war.
A palace statement said the monarch has been deeply concerned about the still-secret US plan to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, and told Kushner Israel had to withdraw from the occupied West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
“His Majesty stressed the need for a comprehensive and lasting peace based on a two-state solution, leading to an independent Palestinian state on 4 June 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the palace statement said.
Kushner is leading a US delegation to the Middle East this week seeking support for a late June economic “workshop” in Manama, Bahrain, in which Kushner is set to unveil the first part of Trump’s long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
Jordan is worried the plan could jettison the two-state solution – the long-standing US and international formula that envisages an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
The White House is expected to present the full plan possibly as early as next month.
The Palestinians, who have boycotted Trump‘s administration since its 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, have already rejected the plan as heavily biased against them.
The plan, touted by Trump as the “deal of the century,” is to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Arab donor countries before grappling with thorny political issues at the heart of the conflict.
The senior White House adviser is accompanied by Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, and Brian Hook, the special US representative for Iran.
The Bahrain gathering, dubbed “Peace for Prosperity”, is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector.
Trump’s office said it aimed to discuss and drum up support for “potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement”.
Palestinians see this as offering financial rewards for accepting ongoing Israeli occupation and already declared that they would not attend the event.
“Attempts at promoting an economic normalisation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine will be rejected,” said Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Meanwhile, Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said on Wednesday that Washington’s peace plan was doomed to fail and that the Palestinian resistance movement would respond firmly to those who proposed such deal.
The Revolutionary Guard said in a statement carried by Tasnim news agency that the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was “withdrawal of Zionists from the occupied lands, and return of Palestinian refugees to hold free elections”.