White House not inviting Israel to Bahrain summit

Posted at 12:01 PM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-17 14:01:54-04

The White House is scrapping plans to invite Israeli government officials to its economic conference in Bahrain later this month, a Trump administration official said.

The White House had previously planned to invite an Israeli government delegation to attend the summit alongside finance ministers from several Arab countries and businessmen, sources familiar with the matter said.

“This is a workshop where we will present our economic vision for the Palestinian people. As such, we want the focus to be on the economic aspect, not the political,” the administration official said, confirming that Israel would not be invited to attend.

The news comes as the Trump administration has decided to delay the announcement of its political plan until after the Israeli elections in September.

Axios/Israel’s Channel 13 first reported the news.

Administration officials have touted the planned conference as a way to unite the region around a more prosperous future and had privately talked up the prospect of Israeli government officials interacting with officials from Arab countries with whom Israel has no formal diplomatic relations.

This now means that neither government party to the conflict will attend the conference. The Palestinian Authority had previously vowed to boycott the conference and had urged other Arab countries not to attend.

The summit will now involve discussions between US officials and representatives from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Qatar.