Palestinians hope to raise $1.5 billion at investors' conference

Palestinian officials say they hope to raise $1.5 billion from foreign investors at a conference next month in the West Bank. Palestinian officials say they've invited more than 1,000 foreign investors. They said Monday that 300 participants have already confirmed their attendance. Among them: An unidentified Saudi investor and a government minister from the United Arab Emirates. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has made the conference a centerpiece of his efforts to develop the local economy to prepare the way for an independent Palestinian state. The conference is set to take place in the biblical town of Bethlehem from May 21 to 23.