The Manama Bazar absent Palestinians will fail
Bazars are a popular place. People come to them looking for bargains with the hope of getting something special for as low price as possible. Bazars allow direct connections with owners of merchandise who are able to explain its features and its qualities.
The economic workshop that is opening up in the Bahraini capital Manama, June 25th and 26th , is all about money, deals and trades but it will not have the attractive features of bazars or souks.
Sure, money will be traded and there will be sellers and buyers but two basic ingredients will be missing.
The product owners will not be around nor will any of the guests find any product of substance of value that they can buy or make a deal about.
The Manama bazar is being hosted by the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain. The first party is holding the economic trade bazar because of its apparent failure to find a political plan for peace that even its closest allies would adopt.
The economic workshop as it has been described comes after two years in which the American Trump administration has been busy devising a vision for peace. After repeated delays, the vision, ultimate deal or the deal of the century appears to have been scrapped and replaced by a two-day workshop aimed to goading regional parties to help pay for dissolving the Palestinian national cause.
Bazar organizers are usually good at exaggerating the value of a worthless item. But never in the history of bazars and souks has such product exaggeration been so fake. Attendees to the Kushner/Greenblatt workshop will not be able to sell or buy anything to do with Palestine without Palestinians being present.
The Palestinian cause which is supposed to be the center of attention in this bazar doesn’t appear to be the motive for many of the Arab finance ministers who have indicated they are coming. The Arab attendees are much more interested in what is happening on the Iran front than what is happening in Palestine. They all want to be on the right side of the Trump administration even if they risk being on the wrong side of their own people, Arab brothers and that of justice for Palestinians.
Billed as a workshop that is aimed at raising a huge $78 billion that will reportedly spurn investment. But the workshop will not encourage the region to scrap Palestinian demands to be free in their own state or have equal rights in a single state. Now that the Americans have rejected the status of occupation in areas captured in 1967, the ensuing apartheid system that has developed as a result of this trajectory will not have the basic features needed for any kind of permanent stability. Without stability the concept of investment will not see any serious launch and then the hosts of this strange bazar will be back on the drawing books, cooking some strange formula and trying to sell it to customers whose eye are fixed on a totally different region.
A two-day conference will do little to change the lives of ordinary Palestinians living under an economic siege in Gaza or under a colonial occupation in the West Bank. Ironically the bazar workshop is being held after two years of consistent U.S. policies aimed at weakening the Palestinian economy rather than support it. Ending funding USAID funding to infrastructural programs, defunding UNRWA and hospitals in Jerusalem and encouraging Israel to steal money earmarked for the Palestinian government under dubious excuses, is not the way to revive the Palestinian economy. World Bank reports and common sense point clearly to the fact that what Palestine needs to kick start its economy is not investment but removal of political restrictions that impede the movement of people and goods, reject attempts to build ports and airports, restrict the usage of 3 or 4 G equipment and deny Palestinians the ability to dig for oil in the West Bank and Gaza offshore gas.
A lot of movement and pressure will take place in the coming weeks trying to convince reluctant countries to attend this useless bazar. Even if it doesn't fail outright, the two-day event will come and go without much change happening because of the Palestinian people’s steadfast on their land. Before during and after this workshop demands for independence, return and equality will continue.