Why Lebanon is boycotting Donald Trump’s Bahrain conference

Shortly after Palestinians rejected the economic component of the US Middle East plan unveiled on Saturday, top Lebanese officials said that they refused to be tempted by the plan – despite it allocating billions of dollars to support infrastructure development and business in Lebanon.

Lebanese politicians have boycotted the two-day “economic workshop” in Manama, Bahrain, during which the US unveiled the peace plan, fearing that it aims to settle Palestinian refugees in their country permanently and grant them citizenship.

They argue that Palestinians who fled Israel in 1948 to neighbouring countries such as Lebanon should be allowed to return to their homeland and that their long-term presence in Lebanon disrupts the country’s delicate confessional balance. Palestinian refugees are mainly Sunni Muslim and their arrival to Lebanon is widely seen as one of the causes of the Lebanese civil wa, which lasted from 1975 until 1990.

“Those who think that waving billions of dollars can lure Lebanon… into succumbing or bartering over its principles are mistaken,” Parliament speaker Nabih Berri said in a statement on Sunday, adding that Lebanon would continue refusing Palestinian permanent settlement in their country.

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