'US lowering its expectations for Bahrain conference'

Journalist Yoni Ben Menachem says US decision not to invite Israel to Bahrain economic conference has implications for peace plan.

Nitzan Keidar,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The Trump Administration declared that the first part of the 'Deal of the Century' would be presented at an economic conference in Bahrain later this month. However, the administration also decided that an official Israeli delegation would not be invited to the conference.

Journalist Yoni Ben Menachem, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said that this is a very significant decision on the part of the administration.

"This is a significant step, since the prior planning involved inviting an official delegation of Israel, headed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, with representatives from the business sector, but the Americans ran into trouble. Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. White House officials announced discreetly [that the Israelis should] come to the meeting, but then there began to be pressure from the Palestinians and Arab countries feared being accused of betraying the Palestinian cause. In addition, Demonstrations are are planned by the Muslim Brotherhood in three of these countries. the rulers of nations feared from the street protests that could destabilize the regime," Ben Menachem told Arutz Sheva.

"It is possible to estimate that these countries explained these things to the Americans and the government decided not to bring official Israeli representation, but only invited Israeli private businessmen, which lowers the Palestinian Authority's claims that there will be an attempt to formalize normalization between Israel and the Arab states. Since there will not be an official Israeli delegation, and it will make it easier for the Arab countries to send representatives to Bahrain, but in the Arab world it is estimated that junior officials will be sent to the conference so that they can present it as a necessary interest only.

Ben-Menachem said that this undoubtedly represents a lowering of American expectations.

"They wanted to present the economic vision of the Deal of the Century at the conference, but only now they have fallen to the American administration's point of view about pressure in the Arab world ... The Americans understand that what promises Arab leaders in private is not something they can meet. They will cancel it. It will be presented as a great failure and a surrender to Abu Mazen and the Arab world. "

"It will give them a few months to continue to work quietly to try to convince the Arab and Palestinian countries that they are boycotting the deal, which in any case is postponed until at least after November. Completely complete the deal, reach a breakthrough, the chances of this happening are very low, perhaps even nil in terms of the Palestinian Authority," he added.

We asked him to assess whether there is a chance that the Deal of the Century will not be presented in the end. Ben Menachem said that "there is a word here by Trump who promised to present a plan and he is also entering the election period soon - which will make him even more willing to stand his word. Another issue is what the results of the elections in Israel will be and what government will be established. It is important for the Americans to gain time and not to leave the Bahrain conference in disgrace at least until November, and then they will reevaluate the new date for the publication of their political ideas."