Palestinian officials in hot water over Ramadan meal with Israelis

“This is a symbolic iftar between Palestinian and Israeli peace activists,” Shadad al-Atili said. “We carry a joint message in support for the two-state solution.”

June 4, 2019 15:01
2 minute read.
Palestinian officials in hot water over Ramadan meal with Israelis

JEWISH ISRAELIS get some firsthand experience of the Iftar sunset meal.. (photo credit: ITAI LITMAN)


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The PLO’s Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society on Monday defended its decision to send Palestinian officials to Jaffa to attend a Ramadan iftar meal last Friday with Israelis.

The committee, which is responsible for holding contacts with Israelis and organizing visits by Israelis to Ramallah, denied charges that it was engaging in promoting “normalization with the occupation.”

Many Palestinians have taken to social media to condemn the PLO committee for attending the iftar meal in “occupied Jaffa.”

In a statement, the committee said: “We need to distinguish between normalization with the occupation and its tools – which is unacceptable and condemned by Palestinians – and working on the internal Israeli front for dialogue and debate with Israeli society and its various aspects.”

Dismissing widespread criticism over Palestinian participation in the Jaffa iftar as “irresponsible,” the committee said that its activities were being held in the context of efforts to relay the Palestinian position and vision to the Israeli side. These activities, the committee said, “do not constitute identification or normalization with the occupation.”

The PLO committee expressed “regret” over accusations that the Palestinian officials who attended the iftar are traitors. “We will continue our work with the various segments of Israeli society and its components, as well as with the Jewish communities around the world,” it said in the statement. “This was a public meeting that was open to the media and it was held with Israelis who support the two-state solution and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, freedom and independence.”

The committee pointed out that former Palestinian Authority minister Ashraf Ajrami, who attended the iftar in Jaffa, delivered a speech there in which he affirmed the PLO’s principles, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital. Ajrami also stressed Palestinian rejection of US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the “Deal of the Century,” and accused the Israeli government and Right of “leading the region towards the unknown,” the committee added.

Shadad al-Atili, a member of the PLO committee who attended the Jaffa iftar, defended the decision to attend the meal. “This is a symbolic iftar between Palestinian and Israeli peace activists,” he said. “We carry a joint message in support for the two-state solution.”

Former MK David Zucker (Meretz), who attended the iftar with the Palestinian officials, said: “I’m very delighted to host here our friends from the Palestinian Authority. It’s very nice to see former parliament members from both sides meet here for the iftar. We’ve known each other for many years. This is an evening full of joy.”

But east Jerusalem political activist Rasem Obeidat commented that: “The so-called Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society is a committee for normalization with an enemy that occupies our land and wants to expel our people. Its role is to legalize Arab normalization with the state of occupation.”

Obeidat claimed that the committee is dominated by a group of Palestinian individuals “squandering Palestinian money.” He and several Palestinians called on the PLO to dissolve the committee and halt all its activities, denouncing the joint Israeli-Palestinian event in Jaffa as a “treacherous iftar.”

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