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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