A photo of an Israeli couple kissing each other during a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Wednesday has sparked a wave of criticism and sarcastic comments on the Internet.Abbas’s critics are using the photo to criticize him for meeting with Israelis. A video documenting the moment the two young Israelis kiss each other has appeared on Youtube, triggering strong responses from Muslims and Arabs worldwide.
On Wednesday, some 250 Israelis were invited to a meeting with Abbas in his Mukata presidential compound in Ramallah. The meeting was organized by a Palestinian committee that seeks to maintain contacts with Israelis as a way of advancing peace and mutual understanding.During the meeting, Abbas told the visiting Israelis that he was interested in resuming the peace talks with Israel, reiterating his demand for the release of Palestinian prisoners.Abbas also pledged to pursue security coordination with Israel. He dismissed criticism of the security coordination between Israel and the PA, saying: “Security coordination is sacred and it will continue despite our political differences.”Abbas’s comments about the security coordination drew sharp criticism from many Palestinians, including leaders of the “anti-normalization” campaign in Ramallah who oppose all forms of contacts with Israelis.But the photo of the Israeli couple kissing each other has drawn even sharper criticism, with comments posted by many Palestinians on Facebook and Twitter. One Palestinian wrote: “How can we blame the Arabs for failing to defend Jerusalem when such immoral things are taking place in the president’s office?” Another commented was: “This is the most famous kiss in history.”A third Palestinian wondered whether the kiss was part of the security coordination that Abbas was talking about during his meeting with the Israelis.A Palestinian graphic designer from Nablus published a cover of a new “novel” entitled, “Kissing in the Times of the Mukata.”