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Israeli Minister Opines Bahrain Conference Buries Diplomacy
Palestinians take part in a protest, at the Shatila refugee camp, against the US-sponsored conference on Palestinian economic development in Bahrain. (Photo by Marwan Naamani/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Israeli Minister Opines Bahrain Conference Buries Diplomacy

The two main take-aways from last week’s “economic workshop” in Bahrain were a conditional – albeit euphoric – belief that Israel has been given a seat at the Middle East table; and alternatively, that throwing a bash for the parties that did not come is less than effective in the long run. But cutting through the hyperbolic expressions of new openness in the region, Israel’s economics minister Eli Cohen predicted the two-day Kirshner debutante workshop will bury rather than build the region’s diplomatic standing and opportunities. He told television interviewers that not showing up at a conference created for them (the Palestinians); to find money for them; to improve their economy and get tools and inducements; shows “they really do not want a peace accord. They simply don’t want us here…Again, the Palestinians’ true face has been exposed.” Other security-linked organizations saw the conference as a starting point but most agree it’s necessary to move ahead with the political side before interest dissipates completely.

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