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Palestinian Authority arrests businessman who attended Bahrain conference: Reports

Salah Abu Miala was detained for a day after he attended the US-led economic conference despite boycott from Palestinian leaders
Palestinian demonstrators chant slogans behind a poster bearing the faces of Arab leaders on bodies of dogs and pigs and a slogan reading in Arabic: "The Manama conference of betrayal and normalisation" during a protest against a US-sponsored Middle East economic conference in Bahrain (AFP)

The Palestinian Authority briefly arrested a businessman after he attended the controversial US-led economic conference in Bahrain, according to Israeli media.

Israel's Haaretz newspaper and Kan public broadcaster said Salah Abu Miala, from Hebron in the occupied West Bank, was arrested early on Saturday.

A family source confirmed to AFP on Sunday that Abu Miala was released late on Saturday.

"Salah attended a wedding party for a family member yesterday and then he disappeared. We haven't seen him since,” the man's brother, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

He said that police forces had not shown up at Abu Miala's home.

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The PA's security service did not respond to requests by Reuters for comment, but Palestinian businessman Ashraf Jabari, who attended the conference in Manama, said by phone: "Salah's son spoke to me by phone and he told me his father was arrested."

The PA has not disclosed what crimes Abu Miala is accused of, said Haaretz.

A phone call from Reuters to Abu Miala's mobile phone was answered by the same son, who said his father could not come to the phone.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could not be reached by Reuters for comment.

The handful of Palestinian businessmen who attended the Bahrain workshop have been branded as "collaborators" by some in the Palestinian leadership, which boycotted the conference.

Haaretz and Kan said that another Palestinian businessman who had attended Manama managed to evade arrest.

Abbas's Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) have refused to deal with the Trump administration for 18 months, accusing it of bias towards Israel.

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Trump's team, headed by his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, launched its $50bn economic outline for Israeli-Palestinian peace on Tuesday in Bahrain, saying the investment programme for the Palestinians would be followed by a political plan to end the decades-old conflict.

But their plan has been met with broad rejection among the Palestinians and the Arab world.

Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab states that have peace agreements with Israel, attended the Bahrain conference - as the economic plan set aside $16.5 bn to be invested in the two countries.

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, who also attended, said they would not endorse a plan that fails to meet Palestinian core demands, including an independent state.

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