The U.S.-led economic workshop starting Tuesday in Bahrain as part of the first part of the American Mideast peace plan is a "joke," PLO Executive Committee Chairman Saeb Erekat told Ynet on Monday.
Erekat also said he discovered the existence of the workshop by watching CNN with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
"You know how I found out about this workshop? I saw it on CNN with my president, who looked at me and said, 'Saeb, what is this?' I said that I did not know, they did not even bother to consult with us. (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu, (U.S. official Jared) Kushner, (U.S. Ambassador to Israel David) Friedman – they know what is best for us, they want to decide for me."
The Palestinian Authority said soon after it would boycott the conference Bahraini capital Manama soon after it was announced. The White House later said that no Israeli officials would be invited either so as to ensure that the event was not political.
A number of Arab states will be in attendance, including Egypt and Jordan, who both said that conference aside, the only solution to the Mideast Palestinian conflict is a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Erekat told Ynet that he met with American representatives 37 times in 2017 and that every American proposal was taken into consideration, but then U.S. aid to the Palestinians was cut without warning.
"They decided out of the blue to cut $350 million from the aid package," Erekat said. "We have 544,000 students in the refugee camps in Jerusalem, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. They cut all the aid from the American aid agency (USAID) and leaving 112 unfinished projects.
"Furthermore, they cut aid to hospitals in Jerusalem. These people are trying to create a situation in which my students have no education (and) people are without medical treatment. They are so cruel."
So nothing will come out of the conference in Bahrain?
"They are planning a $50 billion investment to be paid in 10 years, not now. We have to take control of our land in the West Bank. We have to take control of our beaches at the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean; we have to control our natural resources.
"If you allow us to do that, it would end the occupation (and), I would not need a single dollar from anyone. We don't need people to come and say, 'We know what's good for you.' "
Is the Trump government is trying to bribe you?
"When you are the mediator, you need to be balanced. These people have nothing to do with balance. The Americans are here to do one thing - to destroy the two-state solution. I have devoted my life to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If we and the Israelis don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will. It all depends on Israelis and Palestinians alone. "
"I want to have peace with the Israelis, I want you to be my neighbors. This is our proposal to you. What is your proposal? What is Netanyahu proposing? He comes to my country with Friedman and they intend to declare the Jordan Valley part of Israel after Jerusalem? After the Golan?
"This is a display of power, corruption, hypocrisy, occupation. These people are dragging you down into places that are not good."