- Title: In rebuff to Trump, Palestinians call for freedom, not cash
- Date: 20th June 2019
- Summary: RAFAH, GAZA (FILE) (REUTERS) SUNRISE OVER DESTROYED BUILDINGS OF GAZA'S INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
- Embargoed: 4th July 2019 12:14
- Keywords: Palestinians Bahrain workshop Gaza Trump plan Israel buisness
- Location: ABU DIS, RAWABI,BEIT EL CHECKPOINT, HEBRON, QALANDIYA CHECKPOINT, RAMALLAH, TUBAS, WEST BANK/ TEL AVIV, ISRAEL/ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER, RAFAH, GAZA CITY, GAZA/JERUSALEM
- City: ABU DIS, RAWABI,BEIT EL CHECKPOINT, HEBRON, QALANDIYA CHECKPOINT, RAMALLAH, TUBAS, WEST BANK/ TEL AVIV, ISRAEL/ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER, RAFAH, GAZA CITY, GAZA/JERUSALEM
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA00AAK57IVB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Palestinian businessmen boycotting the Trump administration's Bahrain workshop designed to encourage investment in the territories say only a diplomatic path to statehood can end decades of conflict with Israel.
The United States has billed the June 25-26 gathering in the Gulf kingdom as an economic overture to its long-delayed Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, widely referred to as President Donald Trump's "deal of the century".
But Israeli government officials have not been invited. Palestinian leaders - and the vast majority of its business community - are shunning the conference spearheaded by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
While details of the Trump peace plan are still sketchy, Palestinians worry it will jettison the two-state solution - the long-standing international formula which envisages an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza co-existing with Israel.
"Our case is political, 100 percent. It's not economic," said Palestinian tech company executive Murad Tahboub.
Tahboub, CEO of ASAL Technologies, echoes arguments made by other members of the Palestinian business community in the West Bank and Gaza, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War and where Palestinians want to build a future state.
"How (can you) build an economy if you don't have sovereignty? If you don't have access to natural resources, like water, like electricity, like borders?"
Tahboub says his company's growth has lagged due to Israeli restrictions. "I have 350 engineers because I don't have a state, right now. If I was in Romania or Ukraine, it'd be 3,500."
The Western-backed Palestinian Authority has exercised limited self-rule in the West Bank since the Oslo interim peace deals of the 1990s, with economic relations between Israel and the Palestinians governed by the Paris Protocol of 1994.
Palestinians hoped the Oslo arrangements would lead to full statehood one day, but it never happened, with both sides blaming each other.
(Production: Nehad Shanna/Mohammed Shanna/Eli Berlzon/Ismail Khadder/Mohammed Abu Ganeyeh/Rami Amichay/Roleen Tafakji)
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