Palestinians arrest businessman who attended Bahrain workshop


RAMALLAH: Palestinian intelligence agencies on Saturday arrested a West Bank businessman for taking part in this week’s US-led peace conference in Bahrain, boycotted by the Palestinian leadership, a security source said.
The intelligence services detained Salah Abu Mayala, a businessman from the city of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The family of Abu Mayala, who is in his 70s and has health problems, said they had no information on his detention.
The security source said the Palestinian Authority (PA) had decided to arrest Palestinians found to have taken part in the conference, where US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner launched a long-awaited Middle East initiative.
The Palestinian leadership, which has boycotted the White House over a series of pro-Israeli moves including recognizing the disputed city of Jerusalem as capital of Israel, insists a political solution to the conflict with Israel must come before economic issues.
But at least three Palestinians took part in the Manama conference, including Abu Mayala and fellow Hebronite businessman Ashraf Jabari.
Jabari, who is little known among Palestinians but has spoken before right-wing Jewish settlers, has said he traveled to Bahrain in hopes of boosting the territories’ economy.
Interviewed by Nik Gowing, the veteran BBC anchor who moderated much of the conference, Jabari appeared to be sweating and repeatedly declined to discuss the PA’s position.
“We are not coming here to talk about politics. Politics are for the Palestinian Authority,” he said through a translator.
A spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Saturday slammed the conference.
“The abject failure of the Manama workshop… is a clear message to Mr.Trump and his administration that the policy of threats and intimidation no longer work,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

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