Members of the Yesh Atid party cancelled their plans to take part in a left-wing gathering at the last minute, Haaretz reports. MKs from the party had been planning to participate in a two-day seminar organized by the Geneva Initiative.
MKs involved in the affair said the sudden cancellation had happened on the direct order of party head Yair Lapid.
Lapid was reportedly concerned not over the content of the event, but over the timing. He apparently feared that taking part in the event could hurt his party’s agreement with the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, which supports Jews’ right to live in Judea and Samaria.
The Geneva Initiative promotes the so-called Geneva Accord, an agreement between left-wing Israeli and Palestinian Authority figures who do not represent their respective governments.
The agreement would see Israel withdraw to behind the 1949 armistice line, and does not resolve one of the Arab world’s central demands – the insistence that millions of descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel be allowed to “return” to Israel.
While Yesh Atid did not take part in the Geneva Initiative seminar, 45 hareidi-religious activists from the Shas and Likud parties did participate. The activists met Wednesday with former PA Minister for Prisoners Affairs Hisham Abed el-Razeq, who warned that failure to reach an agreement with the PA would have serious consequences.
Razeq, who lives in Gaza, told the activists that PA Arab society attaches great importance to the release of PA residents imprisoned in Israel. Most are in jail for terror-related offenses.
The PA has previously demanded the release of terrorist prisoners as a condition for diplomatic talks.