Palestinians call on Arab states to skip US-sponsored summit in Poland

Palestinian foreign minister calls Warsaw conference 'a plot against the Palestinian cause'

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the Palestinian Peace and Freedom Forum, which was created by the Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society, in Ramallah in the West Bank on February 6, 2019, with the attendance of Israeli activists.  / AFP / ABBAS MOMANI
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Palestinians are calling on Arab states to boycott a US-hosted Middle East summit that begins this week in Poland, calling it a conspiracy and an attempt by Washington to persuade attendees to support its positions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki told the Voice of Palestine that his country viewed the Warsaw conference "as a plot against the Palestinian cause".

He said at the very least Arab states should have sent delegations below the level of minister.

Most Arab nations have refrained from establishing relations with Israel without significant progress towards peace with the Palestinians.

While many viewed the conference as an attempt to rally support around the Iran issue, Palestinians believe that the US is also trying to lobby other nations about their plans for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will attend the summit, as will US Vice President Mike Pence.

US President Donald Trump’s administration said that it will release a much-vaunted Middle East peace plan, but this has yet to materialise.

Repeated delays during the first two years of Mr Trump’s presidency have left Palestinian officials in Ramallah concerned that such a peace plan does not exist, even though they have already said that they will reject any deal proposed by Washington.

Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s senior adviser, is expected to discuss the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at the Poland summit. It remains unclear if Mr Kushner is going to announce any details about the US peace plan.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas set off for a visit to Saudi Arabia on Monday to talk to the kingdom’s rulers about “the dangers facing the Palestinian cause”.

The visit was at the invitation of King Salman.