DESPARDES News Monitor — Bahrain, which is hosting the rollout of the first part of the US administration’s Middle East peace plan, on Monday reiterated its principled support for the Palestinian cause.
In a statement, the tiny Gulf state’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa “underscored the position of the Kingdom of Bahrain in support of the Palestinian cause and the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”
Khalifa, who in the past has raised eyebrows in the Arab world with his pro-Israel statements, stressed that his country “stands by all efforts that would lead to investment in infrastructure and the development of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and enable the Palestinian people to prosper.”
Palestinians reacted strongly to the announcement, saying a political solution must precede economic initiatives.
“Any solution to the conflict in Palestine must be political … and based on ending the occupation,” Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said at a cabinet meeting. “The current financial crisis is a result of a financial war waged against us and we will not succumb to blackmailing and extortion and will not trade our national rights for money.”
“Might is right…for how long…”, commented a Middle East media and political analyst.
According to an Islamabad based analyst, some are experimenting with a new idea in the Middle East and South Asia region: investment and incentives preceding political solutions as sweetener, and then political solution to leverage geopolitical objectives.
“Such a move comes concurrent with China’s Belt and Road in the wider region.”, and for some, the biggest takeaways in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative have them rethinking modern practices.”
On Sunday, Bahrain and the US jointly announced that they will host an economic “workshop” for international 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.”
During the summit, set to take place in the Bahraini capital Manama on June 25-26, the US is expected to present the first part of its long-anticipated Middle East peace proposal. Its second part, which will deal with the political issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, will be revealed at a later stage, according to the White House.
The two nations have very close relationship.
The tiny Gulf State and the United States signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement in October 1991 granting U.S. forces access to Bahraini facilities and ensuring the right to pre-position material for future crises. A few kilometers east of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain is the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. The U.S. designated Bahrain a major non-NATO ally in October 2001.