Egypt's Moussa denies meeting with prominent Israeli tycoon

Ahram Online , Tuesday 6 Nov 2012

Mubarak-era FM Amr Moussa denies report in alternative press that he met Israeli business tycoon Rami Levy during recent visit to Palestinian West Bank

Moussa, Masri, Levy
Amr Moussa, Munib Masri, Munib Masri, Palestinian billionaire and Rami Levy, Israeli businessman

Former Arab league chief and one-time presidential candidate Amr Moussa on Sunday visited the Palestinian West Bank on a private Jordanian government helicopter, where he took part in an economic forum meeting.

The following day, Moussa denied a report that he had also taken part in a second, unpublicised meeting with Israeli business tycoon Rami Levy. Levy is the owner of a supermarket chain bearing his name with outlets in several illegal Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank.

According to a report by the Electronic Intifada, an independent pro-Palestine online publication, the alleged meeting on Sunday was attended by Levy, Palestinian billionaire Munib Masri, Jordanian Prime Minister Abd Al-Salam Majali and Moussa.

The Electronic Intifada further reported that Moussa had also taken part in meetings with high-profile Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian business tycoons, under the pretext of discussing the Saudi-backed 2002 Arab Peace plan.  

According to reports in the mainstream news media, meanwhile, Moussa also met with UN representative Robert Serry and head of the Palestinian Authority's Palestine Investment Fund Mohammed Mustafa, in addition to a delegation of Turkish businessmen.

Pro-Palestine activists have expressed outrage in the past over meetings held between Levy and Masri, the latter of whom has been dubbed the "Duke of Nablus." The steering committee of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has condemned reported dealings between the two magnates.

In a statement issued in August, BDS's steering committee stated: "The warm relations between a segment of Palestinian capitalists and Israeli capitalists is one of the worst forms of normalisation [between Israel and Arab states]."

It added that such normalisation served to provide the occupation with a "fig leaf to cover up its continued occupation, ethnic cleansing, racism, siege of Gaza, land confiscation and settlement construction, and denial of the right of return for Palestinian refugees."

The Electronic Intifada noted that continued meetings between these business tycoons represented an attempt to encourage normalisation. This comes in light of a recent interview with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas on Israeli television in which he renounced Palestinian refugees' right to return to their homes in historical Palestine.

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