The long list of countries planning to attend the conference — the first, economic, stage of the White House’s wider plan for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal — marks an achievement for the US.
Since Washington and Manama announced the “Peace for Prosperity” workshop with a joint statement on May 19, the Palestinian Authority has done everything it can to sabotage the event, repeatedly urging Arab governments to stay away — to little avail. Lebanon has unsurprisingly publicly repudiated the summit, citing the Palestinians’ refusal to attend, though it’s far from clear that Beirut was invited in the first place. Iraq is more politely staying away. (Iran, inevitably, has castigated the gathering from the get-go.)
Either way, the growing list of attendees shows that the cynicism with which many pundits initially dismissed the conference was premature. It may be a wedding without a bride, as some analysts sneered, but at least the groom gets to hang out, in public, with many members of the regional family he rarely gets to see.