(photo credit:Ariel Jerozolimski)
Beit Hanassi has issued statement denying allegations that former government minister and current chairman of the Kadima Council Haim Ramon had been sent by President Shimon Peres to talk to Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.
The denial follows a sensational broadcast on Israel Radio on Thursday in which political reporter, commentator and anchorwoman Ayala Hasson interviewed someone who had sat at the next table to Erekat and Ramon at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem and had clearly overheard Ramon advising Erekat as to how to proceed in relation to the policies of the Netanyahu-led government.
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The interviewee, whose voice was distorted, was asked by Hasson whether he had recorded the conversation and he declined to answer. Later in the program when Hasson was talking to lawyer Amnon Zichroni she asked him "a hypothetical question" as to whether it was illegal to record a conversation held in a public place, which seemed to indicate that she knew that the conversation had in fact been recorded.
Zichroni said that it was legal to record a conversation in which the person recording had also participated, but it was illegal when none the people involved were aware that they were being recorded.
Hasson disagreed and said she was very familiar with this law, in addition to which she had taken legal advice. Her opinion was supported by political commentator Hanan Krystal.
It is unlikely that a journalist of Hassan's caliber and experience would have agreed to interview the eavesdropper if there was no evidence to back up what he said.
In can presumed that the recording device was in his cell phone, which he probably put on the table in full view of anyone who cared to look.
According to the interview, Erekat had asked Ramon who he was representing and Ramon had replied that he had been sent by President Shimon Peres.
President Peres never asked Haim Ramon to meet with Saeb Erekat. Any claim to the contrary is an outright lie, says the statement from Beit Hanassi.
The statement goes on to point out that Peres does not need any intermediaries to talk on his behalf to the Palestinians.
The President meets on a regular basis with leaders from all over the world including members of the Palestinian leadership.
Beit Hanassi deplores the use of the President's name at a meeting in which had neither direct nor indirect contact, the statement concludes.
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