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Netanyahu Welcomes Bahrain Conference, Confirms Israeli Participation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised the U.S.-sponsored conference on the Palestinian economy which will take place in Bahrain later this month, confirming Israeli participation in the event.

The Israeli delegation will consist of private citizens involved in business, high-tech, and innovation, sources said, as well as Yoav Mordechai, a former Israeli general who served as chief liaison officer to the Palestinians.

“A very important conference, which we welcome, will be held in Bahrain very soon – a U.S. effort to bring about a better future and solve the region’s problems,” Netanyahu said in a speech on Tuesday. “Israelis will be present, of course.”

Netanyahu also charged that Israel had “contacts” with “most of the Arab countries,” adding that Israel maintains “secret contacts with many leaders of the Arab world and there are ramified contacts between the State of Israel and Arab countries, with most of the Arab countries.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to boycott all negotiations and insist they have successfully obstructed the June 25-26 workshop.

“The American conspiracy has faltered, and its direction has changed,” PA Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh asserted. “That’s because of Palestinian rejection and President Mahmoud Abbas’s clear position on Jerusalem, the refugees and the national principles.”

Speaking in Ramallah last month, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said that, “The Palestinian Authority does not recognize this conference.” The PA chairman went on to describe the U.S. peace initiative as a “disgrace” and predicted that “the economic project they are working on for next month will also go to hell.”

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia announced in May that they would participate in the conference. Last week, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco confirmed that they would also be sending delegation to Bahrain.