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Israelis criticized at West Bank meeting

  |   Nov. 6, 2012 at 5:25 AM
NABLUS, West Bank, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Palestinian factions spoke against Israeli businessmen's participation in an economic conference in Nablus, saying the trip legitimizes West Bank settlements.

Mahmoud Ishtayeh, a Fatah official in Nablus, said the Israelis' visit gave legitimacy to Israeli settlements in the West Bank at a time when the Palestinian Authority's policy is to boycott settlement products, Ma'an News Agency reported.

Bassam al-Salhi, secretary-general of the Palestinian People's Party, said there was no justification for Israeli delegation's participation, the Palestinian news agency said.

The weekend conference was aimed at forming "an international coalition ... to break the deadlock in the peace process. This is not negotiations, nor economic cooperation, normalization or bilateral talks ... but an international meeting under the banner of a global body, the World Economic Forum," Ma'an said, quoting a statement published by the organizers.

The meeting took place at the residence of Palestinian businessman Munib al-Masri. About 700 delegates from around the world attended, including Amr Moussa, former secretary-general of the Arab League, Jordanian Prime Minister Abdelsalam al-Majali, U.N. Middle East envoy Robert Serry and Israeli supermarket chain mogul Rami Levy.

Moussa came under criticism for attending the meeting and was accused of collaborating [with Israelis], spokesman Lamia Kamel told the Egyptian website dailynewsegypt.com.

Moussa's aide Ahmed Salah Kamel told the website Moussa didn't meet any Israeli delegates personally. He called accusations against the former Arab League chief "a slander campaign." The event he said was held under the auspices of the World Economic Forum in preparation for the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

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