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Israel welcomes Mideast peace workshop although not invited

June 18, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convenes his Cabinet to inaugurate a new settlement named after President Donald Trump in a gesture of appreciation for the U.S. leader's recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Sunday, June 16, 2019. The Trump name graces apartment towers, hotels and golf courses. Now it is the namesake of a tiny Jewish settlement in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is welcoming next week’s Mideast peace conference, even though government officials are not invited.

Speaking at a government ceremony Tuesday, Netanyahu praised the U.S. conference in Bahrain as “an attempt by the United States to bring a better future and solve the problems of the region.”

The White House says the workshop will focus on economic benefits that could be reaped if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were resolved. It says it decided against inviting Israeli officials to avoid focusing on “political issues.”

So far, two Israelis, a hospital director and former defense official, are reportedly attending.

The Palestinians, accusing the Trump administration of pro-Israel bias, have rejected the U.S. peace plan. The White House announced last week that Egypt, Jordan and Morocco agreed to join.

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