JERUSALEM -- 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.