Palestinian affairs journalists working for the Israeli media decided Sunday not to cover the meeting between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli politicians from Kadima and Labor in Ramallah.

The decision was taken by the Association for Palestinian Affairs Correspondents after representatives of the Geneva Initiative, who initiated the meeting with Abbas, allowed only one journalist from Haaretz to accompany them.

All the other journalists who requested to cover the meeting had initially been told by the Israeli organizers that no reporter would be accompanying the delegation to Ramallah.

The journalists were told that they would be permitted to cover the meeting from outside the room or from a “distance,” the association said in a statement.

The association, which represents scores of journalists covering Palestinian affairs, noted that the decision to refrain from reporting about the meeting was taken in wake of recent interviews Abbas had given to reporters who do not specialize in Palestinian affairs.

Gal Berger, chairman of the association, said that Abbas was deliberately avoiding Palestinian affairs correspondents “because he does not want hard questions.”

Berger pointed out that not only did Abbas gave an interview to an anchor at an Israeli TV station three months ago, but had met on Sunday with the political correspondent of Haaretz and later with a female journalist from Yediot Aharonot whose beat is the Arab world.

“Undoubtedly, in Ramallah they find this more convenient than having to face questions from journalists who are experts in the inner workings and political reality of the Palestinians,” Berger said.

The decision to allow only the political correspondent of Haaretz to attend the meeting was taken by Abbas’s office, Berger quoted the Israeli organizers as saying.

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