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Arabs Turn Down Peres Invitation

Pres. Peres has invited Arabs to take part in nightly meals to break the Ramadan fast but they have turned him down and protested outside his home.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 8/19/2010, 7:00 PM / Last Update: 8/19/2010, 8:32 PM

Flash 90

President Shimon Peres is having no luck with his invitations to break the daily Ramadan fast with Israeli-Arabs. Last night’s affair was interrupted by a loud protest outside his residence, and the Israeli-Arab leadership has announced that it officially rejects the invitations.

During the Islamic month of Ramadan – which is parallel this year to the Hebrew month of Elul, and ends on Rosh HaShanah (Sept. 9) – devout Moslems fast during the day and break their fast with a festive meal each night, known as Iftar.

President Peres had issued an invitation to Israeli-Arab leaders to take part in the Iftar meal with him one night. The leaders turned him down, and urged all Arabs in Israel to do the same.

Kadri Abu Wasel, responsible for the Israeli-Arab Tracking Committee Freedom Defense Task Force, said, “I strenuously object to any agreement on the part of the Arab public to take part in the Iftar with Shimon Peres… The question is how can a responsible Arab or Arab mayor agree to sit with Peres to break his fast without pangs of conscience?”

Wail Omri, secretary of the Democratic Arab Union in the Nazareth region, said, “We know who Shimon Peres is, and one should try to avoid making contact with him. This is why we asked the Arab leaders not to answer his invitation.”

Kamal al-Hatib, Deputy Leader of the Islamic Movement, attacked Peres for his silence regarding the evacuation of the illegal Bedouin encampment Al-Arakib in the Negev. “To eat with Peres would be a disgrace,” he said.

MK Hanin Zouabi, herself in danger of having her citizenship revoked because of her presence on the Turkish terrorist Mavi Marmari ship that tried to break through Israel’s blockade, said, “Whoever has even an iota of self-respect cannot respond to this invitation…”

Last night, several dozen Israeli Jews demonstrated outside the President’s Residence, calling on Arabs not to attend the Iftar dinner with Peres. They scorned the Arabs standing on line waiting to enter the President’s home, saying they should be ashamed for allowing Peres to tell them of the rights accorded to Arabs while Al-Arakib is being destroyed.

“Arabs turning down an invitation from the left-wing Peres is a miniature of how Abbas and Arafat turned down Olmert’s and Barak’s offers of 98% of Judea and Samaria,” one observer said.