August 23, 2013
Knesset members are used to attending new year’s toasts with their supporters around the country ahead of Rosh Hashana.
But as many as 40 ministers and MKs will be attending a very different toast on the eve of Rosh Hashana this year when they travel to Ramallah at the invitation of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas invited the Knesset’s Caucus on Ending the Israeli-Arab Conflict to his headquarters in Ramallah after a Palestinian delegation was greeted by 30 MKs and ministers and a Palestinian flag at the Knesset on July 31.
At the event at the Knesset, the MKs were invited to Ramallah by Muhammad Madani, a former Palestinian parliament member whom Abbas appointed to head a new Palestinian Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society. Madani promised that the MKs would be greeted as warmly in Ramallah as the Palestinians were received at the Knesset.
“It is logical that since you put up a Palestinian flag when we came here that when you come to our parliament, there will be an Israeli flag,” Madani told the MKs in response to a question from The Jerusalem Post during the meeting.
The Knesset caucus has the support of 40 MKs and ministers, including three MKs who are also in the rival lobby for strengthening Judea and Samaria. Caucus chairman Hilik Bar (Labor) said that just like he had gotten 30 of the 120 MKs to come meet the Palestinian delegation at the Knesset, he expected one fourth of the 132 PA parliament members to greet the group when it came to Ramallah.
The MKs have been invited to a tour but have not been told yet where they will be touring. One Voice, a pro-peace lobby in Jerusalem and Ramallah that runs the caucus, organizes tours for Israelis of Rawabi, a hi-tech Palestinian city that is being built.
“I appreciate the invitation,” Bar said. “We intend to come with MKs from across the political spectrum, from the coalition and the opposition, and to give our support for the negotiations between Israel and the PA to end the conflict via the two state solution.”