AP NEWS

Palestinians release businessman who attended US conference

June 30, 2019 GMT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, June. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, Pool)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, June. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, Pool)

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian security official on Sunday confirmed the release of a Palestinian man who was arrested after participating in the White House-led Mideast peace conference in Bahrain last week.

The Palestinian Authority arrested Saleh Abu Mayala on Saturday in the city of Hebron for interrogation.

The security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, said Abu Mayala had been released late Saturday. The official did not elaborate on the reason for the arrest.

The Palestinian Authority boycotted the Bahrain conference, saying the U.S. is unfairly biased toward Israel.

Abu Mayala attended the conference with a small group of Palestinian colleagues, led by businessman Ashraf Jabari, who is viewed with deep suspicion by fellow Palestinians and authorities for his close ties to Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority has boycotted the Trump administration since its 2017 recognition of contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocation of the U.S. embassy to the city the following year. The Trump administration has also halted aid to the Palestinians, pressuring them to resume peace negotiations with Israel.

U.S. Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt welcomed Abu Mayala’s release. “We look fwd to continuing our conversation w all who attended the workshop & anyone else who wants a better future for the Palestinians,” he wrote on Twitter.

In Bahrain, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner revealed the economic part of the plan, promising $50 billion in projects and investments aimed at helping the Palestinians and neighboring Arab countries.

The Palestinian leadership says the economic plan should not pre-empt a political settlement.

Addressing his Cabinet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the economic plan and criticized the Palestinians’ rejection and arrest of Abu Mayala.

“This is not how those who want to promote peace act,” he said.