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Israelis to sneak former official into Bahrain talks

A former general who served as Israel’s chief liaison officer to the Palestinians will attend next week’s U.S.-led conference on the Palestinian economy in Bahrain in a private capacity, a person briefed on the matter said on Tuesday.

The White House decided against including the Israeli government in the June 25-26 event in Manama after the Palestinians boycotted it, making do instead with inviting a small Israeli business delegation.

U.S. officials have not formally announced those delegates.

A source briefed on the invitees said they include Yoav Mordechai, a former general who stepped down as head of Israel’s military-run COGAT liaison agency last year and now heads Novard, an international consultancy.

Mordechai will be joined in Manama by his Novard partner, the source said, declining to identify the second man by name as he is also a veteran of Israel’s security services.

Reached by phone, Novard declined comment.

Known to Israelis and Palestinians alike by his nickname Poly, the Arabic-fluent Mordechai was a dominant force in Israel’s efforts to coordinate security in the occupied West Bank and stave off fighting with the Gaza Strip’s Islamist Hamas rulers.

The United States has billed the Bahrain gathering as a workshop to boost the Palestinian economy as part of a broader effort by President Donald Trump’s administration to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinian leaders have spurned the conference, alleging pro-Israeli bias from Washington and saying the still unpublished U.S. peace plan falls short of their goal of statehood.

Source: Reuters

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