In a joint statement with Bahrain Sunday, the United States announced the conference, describing it as the first step in revealing US President Donald Trump's peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conference will unveil the Trump administration's economic proposals for development in Palestinian territories, but will not include details regarding Palestinian sovereignty, which are expected to be released at a later date as the "political" portion of the peace package.
According to a White House statement, the workshop will be a "pivotal opportunity" for 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." The workshop, however, will not address pressing issues such as final borders of a Palestinian state or the Palestinian refugee crisis.
Following Washington's announcement, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh revealed that the Palestinian leadership had not even been invited to attend the US-led conference, which is scheduled to take place in Bahrain's capital city of Manama on June 25 and June 26.
"The cabinet wasn't consulted about the reported workshop, neither over the content, nor the outcome nor timing," Shtayyeh said Monday, according to multiple reports.
"Any solution to the conflict in Palestine must be political… and based on ending the occupation," he added.
According to Peled, the economic conference, which would include representatives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, is merely a "sham" aimed at maintaining Israel's control of Palestinian land and resources.
"This is a sham. First of all, two things happened. One, Palestinians learned their lesson from 1995," Peled told host John Kiriakou. In September 1995, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed the Oslo II Accord, a key agreement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, in Taba, Egypt.
"They participated, of course, and got nothing out of it. And that was what led them [Palestinians] to the dire situation which [they are in] today. The Trump administration, together with [Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin] Netanyahu, have done everything they can to eliminate the existence of Palestinians completely. They reject the notion that there are 5.5 million [Palestinian] refugees. They closed down the Palestinian mission in Washington, DC," Peled explained.
"And this new plan, of course, doesn't recognize the existence of any Palestinians at all. They want to literally give Israel control over the entire country with absolutely no rights to the Palestinians. So it's not surprising that the Palestinians weren't invited. It's not surprising that the Palestinians are saying that any deal has to include certain parameters or else it's not a deal, [and that it is instead] a demand for complete surrender by the Palestinians. There is absolutely no hope in this plan, whatsoever," Peled noted.
On Monday, Palestinian Social Development Minister Ahmed Majdalani stated that no Palestinian officials will attend the June meeting.
"There will be no Palestinian participation in the Manama workshop," Majdalani told Reuters. "Any Palestinian who would take part would be nothing but a collaborator for the Americans and Israel."
Last month, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner announced that the highly anticipated Middle East peace plan he is spearheading won't be revealed until June.
The Trump administration has been working for more than two years on its peace blueprint for the Israelis and Palestinians. The plan's details have been closely guarded, with Kushner calling it an "unconventional approach."
"I think it's a charade," Peled responded when asked by Kiriakou what the conference in Bahrain next month is supposed to accomplish.
"It's a charade in which they want as many Arabs to participate and really validate this plan, which is a plan to give Israel everything. [It] will be a complete capitulation by the Palestinians. It's a non-starter. It's absolutely meaningless, and it's an attempt to get as many Arabs to somehow collaborate with the Israeli and American plan to destroy Palestine completely," Peled told Sputnik.
On Tuesday evening, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates became the first two Arab countries to confirm their attendance to the conference next month.
"The Gulf and the Saudis have been in bed and collaborating with the Israelis for a very long time," Peled told Sputnik.
"It just hasn't been done as publicly as it is now. Israel is a gateway to the US, so if they work well with Israel, then they have an ear in the US. We're talking about weapons sales; we're talking about Saudi's ongoing war in — or destruction of — Yemen. There are a lot of reasons for corrupt leaders to collaborate with Israel, and they have been doing it for many, many years. Now, it's become public with this supposedly ‘deal of the century' peace plan," Peled explained.
Kiriakou also noted that the conference is mainly being reported on by US and Israeli media, with the international community remaining silent.
"It's not a plan. It's some kind of insane dream that was concocted by Netanyahu and Kushner. And it's not leading anywhere. And what's one more conference where they try to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together? Why would that be of any interest to anybody? Everybody knows that these conferences mean nothing and lead to absolutely nothing, so why bother wasting paper and ink talking about this?" Peled said, also noting that Israeli media is trying to portray the Palestinians as once again rejecting the possibility of peace with Israelis.
"This is a complete waste of time," Peled continued. "This is an attempt to completely solidify Israeli control over Palestine and make Palestine disappear. You've got 5.5 million Palestinians languishing in refugee camps, and you've got about 7 million Palestinians living in Palestine itself, and they will not disappear or go away regardless of how hard Kushner or Netanyahu try."
"This is an arrogant and reckless attempt to give Israel everything and deny the Palestinians everything. It's very blatant that this is what it's about. Israel wants one thing. It wants all of Palestine and all of its resources. It wants the Palestinians to sit down and shut up or die. The only hope is for countries around the world to [support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement], denounce Zionism completely, send home all of the Israeli ambassadors and call for a real democracy with complete equal rights over all of Palestine. That is the only way forward. That is the only proposition out there that provides any kind of hope," Peled concluded.