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Palestinians reject Kushner’s ‘opportunity of the century’ and boycott Bahraini conference

PALESTINIANS have roundly rejected Jared Kushner’s “opportunity of the century” by boycotting his Bahrain conference.

The action came amid concerns that the status of Jerusalem would be traded for economic investment into the impoverished occupied territories.

The conference hosted in the Bahraini capital Manama was dominated by representatives from US allies including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

But Palestinians shunned the gathering on the advice of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas against US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” amid concerns over the status of Jerusalem.

The ancient city is claimed by both Palestine and Israel, with its future status subject to peace negotiations.

Mr Trump inflamed tensions last year when he recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, said in his opening speech: “Imagine a new reality in the Middle East. Imagine a bustling tourism and commercial centre in Gaza and the West Bank.” He encouraged attendees to “begin thinking about these challenges in a new way.”

But Palestinians have rejected what they view as an attempt to “buy” their co-operation. Many warn that the plans are dead in the water without approval from their leadership.

Mr Abbas’s spokesman Majdi Khaldi said: “The Palestinian people and leadership will not deal with any peace plan that does not comply with international law, ie the two-states solution, including East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state based on 1967 lines.”

British Airways (BA) came under fire today after sending an email to its “executive club” encouraging members to visit Jerusalem while describing the city as a “capital.”

A statement from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “As reaffirmed by the UN General Assembly in 2017, Israel’s attempts to impose its sovereignty over Jerusalem are illegal under international law and are also an obstacle to peace given that it ignores the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. 

“British Airways, like all companies, has obligations to respect international law and human rights conventions. It needs to immediately correct its messaging on this and ensure all future communications adhere to these basic principles.”

It is not the first time BA has promoted occupied East Jerusalem as a part of Israel.

In 2011 it carried an insert from the Israeli tourist office extolling the virtues of the “Old City” of Jerusalem, which has been occupied in breach of international law since 1967.

British Airways were contacted for comment by the Star.

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