Palestine Rejects Invitation to US-Sponsored Conference in Warsaw

Palestinian officials have confirmed that they rejected an invitation to attend the 2-day conference in Warsaw on the Middle East set to begin today (Wednesday, February 13) which was called by the United States. Secretary General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, affirmed, “Regarding statements that we have been invited, we can say that only today there was some contact from the Polish side.”

Erekat added, “Our position remains clear: We are not going to attend this conference and reiterate that we have not mandated anyone to talk on behalf of Palestine.” In addition, Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian Authority official, rejected the invitation as he argued that only the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) could represent the Palestinian people. According to a senior US administration official, Jared Kushner, a senior adviser would discuss plans to “advance peace between the Palestinians and Israelis at the conference.”

Last week, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the upcoming Warsaw conference “is an US conspiracy aimed at preventing participants in the conference from taking independent and free decisions on core issues based on their principled positions such as the Palestinian issue.” The Palestinians on Monday called on Arab nations to boycott or downgrade their representation at a Mideast summit co-hosted by the United States, as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas traveled to Saudi Arabia discuss “the dangers facing the Palestinian cause.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brasilia on January 1, 2019

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brasilia on January 1, 2019 (Photo: GPO)

According to Israeli sources, the conference in Poland is widely seen as a US-led effort to isolate Iran, which was not invited. The US has said the Warsaw conference is aimed at “promoting peace and security in the Middle East.” However, it appears to be focused on building a united front against Iran and perpetuated the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Netanyahu is set to meet in Warsaw with US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the two-day conference, “Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East.” On Sunday, Netanyahu said in the weekly cabinet meeting that his focus in the two-day conference would be the Islamic republic.