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Hamas: US summit in Bahrain 'abortive', 'miserable gathering'

A file photo shows Salah Bardawil.

A senior Hamas official has strongly denounced President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, saying the US “deal of the century” conference in Bahrain was doomed to failure from the very beginning.

Salah Bardawil said Thursday the conference had been “an abortive" attempt and "a miserable gathering”, which was being led by a bunch of novice US diplomats such as Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.

The official said the plan, which aimed at eliminating the Palestinian cause, wouldn’t be able to harm the unshaken “political will and determination of Palestinian people.”

“How could such small politicians think they were able to settle the Palestinian cause using money?” the Hamas official questioned.

Bardawil also expressed anger and disappointment at some Arab rulers who were furthering hostile US-Israeli policies against Palestinians by hosting such a summit in Bahrain. 

All the Palestinian people have already rejected the deal and boycotted the event. The participants in the two-day meeting, however, ignored a Palestinian call to shun the workshop.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop on Tuesday, Kushner argued that agreeing to an economic pathway forward was “a necessary precondition” for resolving the conflict.

Under Trump's economic plan, $50 billion would be injected into struggling economies in the Middle East over the next ten years. Critics say Washington is offering financial rewards for Palestinians to accept the Israeli occupation.

Neither the Israeli nor Palestinian officials attended the event at Manama's luxury Four Seasons hotel, where international bureaucrats enjoyed luxury drinks and delicate pastries, mingling with Arab businessmen sporting gold Rolex watches.

More than 1,500 km away in Gaza, where over half of the enclave's two million people live in poverty, Palestinians criticized the Arabs who attended the event and sided with the United States and Israel.

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, demonstrators on Wednesday held the second day of protest rallies.

Senior Palestinian officials say it was Trump who had inflicted further hardship on Palestinians, cutting hundreds of millions in aid to humanitarian organizations across the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday said the US administration wants to close Palestinian schools and health units in the refugee camps in Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon.

Last year, Washington announced an end to all US funding for the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees. 

The US cuts were widely seen as a way of putting pressure on the Palestinian leadership to re-engage with the White House, which it has boycotted since Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the so-called capital of the Israeli regime in 2017.

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