Trump Admin Kicks Off Plan to Foster Israeli-Palestinian Peace

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen left and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz deliver a press statement after a meeting

First on CNN: White House to focus on investment in Middle East as part of peace proposal

"There will be no Palestinian participation in the Manama workshop", Majdalani, who is also a member of the executive committee of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation, told Reuters news agency.

Bashar al-Masri, one of the most prominent Palestinian businessmen who worked with global investors and Israel to build the new $1.4-billion Palestinian city of Rawabi, announced he had rejected an invitation to the conference.

The "workshop underscores the close strategic partnership between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States as well as the strong and shared interest in creating thriving economic opportunities that benefit the region", Bahrain Minister of Finance and National Economy Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said in a statement included by the White House.

The White House announced on Sunday night that it would hold the gathering in Bahrain to discuss large-scale investment in the Palestinian territories.

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He said attempts to use economic means to lead to a settlement of the conflict "will be rejected" and that "efforts to make the oppressor and the oppressed coexist are doomed to fail".

United States officials said the conference would include representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as some finance ministers.

"We think this is an opportunity to take the economic plan that we've worked on for a long time now and present it in the region", a senior Trump administration official said.

The Trump administration has been working on its peace plan for many months.

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Shtayyeh reiterated Palestinians' core demands for a two-state peace deal with Israel, which include gaining full control of the occupied West Bank and Hamas-governed Gaza, as well as East Jerusalem.

"The financial crisis the Palestinian Authority is living through today is a result of the financial war that is being launched against us in order to win political concessions", Shtayyeh told the cabinet. This workshop is a pivotal opportunity to convene government, civil society, and business leaders to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement.

Jared Kushner, Senior Adviser to President Donald Trump, praised Bahrain on Sunday for hosting the workshop.

USA officials, while briefing reporters, declined to provide any specific details about the political portion of the plan, but said this will be unveiled in the coming weeks. The Trump administration's focus on economy first "obscures the fact that the Palestinian economy is heavily shaped by Israel's occupation and settler colonial enterprise". Trump also recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv. "I feel awful for the Palestinian people". Several Palestinian business leaders had been invited to participate in the conference.

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Though the plan's authors insist the exact contents are known only to a handful of insiders, Trump's aides have disclosed it will address the major political issues such as the status of Jerusalem.

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