(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union) will head to Washington and New York next week to present his diplomatic plan to Arab officials, but on the way, he has once again flouted the Knesset’s rules.
Sources close to Margalit have attempted to present his trip to the US, where they say he is expected to meet with Arab League officials and high-level Jordanian representatives, as Oslo-esque, in that he is working to promote a plan for the country behind the government’s back.
However, unlike in the early stages of negotiation toward the Oslo Accords, when it was illegal for Israelis to talk to members of the PLO, there is peace with Jordan and it is not illegal to speak to Arab League officials.
Still, Margalit did break a rule in relation to his trip, by not informing the Knesset Ethics Committee about it. Asked why he did not tell the committee, as required, his office did not have an answer.
Because Margalit is funding the trip himself, he does not need permission from the Ethics Committee, but he does need to report his travel plans a “reasonable” amount of time in advance, according to the Knesset’s ethics rules.
Margalit cultivates a “bad boy” image, using foul language and shouting in materials for his campaign for Labor Party chairman.
Next week, on his trip to the US, Margalit plans to meet with former and current senior Arab League officials, as well as former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, at the Brookings Institution, in an aim to promote his “Common Interests Plan,” which draws on his business expertise, and is based on drawing international investments to joint projects between Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states.
Because the plan is based on private sector investment, Margalit may be able to make headway toward enacting his plan without the government’s blessing, even as an MK in the opposition.
Margalit has already discussed his plan with Arab League officials and representatives of five Sunni states in secret meetings in Europe. He was also invited by Palestinian millionaire Bashar al-Masri, developer of the first Palestinian planned city, Rawabi, 9 km. northwest of Ramallah, to present the plan to him.