Zouheir Bahloul
Zouheir Bahloul Amir Levi, Flash 90

Former Palestinian Authority official Ashraf al-Ajami participated on Saturday in Arab-Jewish "Shabatarbut" (Culture on the Sabbath, events planned to include the secular) event in Acre. The event was led by Arab MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union), and attended by Coalition Chairman David Bitan (Likud) who shook hands with al-Ajami and posed with him in a photograph.

"I am happy that MK Bitan rose above bitter differences of opinion and managed to listen to someone from the Palestinian Authority," Bahloul said. "This rare meeting between MK Bitan and former PA official al-Ajami shows that we can be logical and sane instead of hating. Two 'hawks' met, shook hands, listened to each other. They may not have agreed, but this is a ray of light and hope."

Bitan said, "The difference between Likud and Jewish Home is that we will not allow two million Palestinians to vote in our elections, and we will ensure that there is an appropriate way to do this."

"The war is not a war between left and right, but rather between liberal and conservative judges. Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor was the wife of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin's secretary and her grandson ran in Likud primaries, but she is a liberal judge, not conservative."

Al-Ajami emphasized that he spoke in the PLO's name when he claimed, "The Palestinian Authority has agreed to a demilitarized and disarmed state. They have also agreed to normalize ties and end the conflict.

"Hamas has also agreed to pre-1967 borders. When we arrive at a two-state agreement, the Palestinians will vote, and so will Fatah and Hamas. There will be one government."

The PA consistently refuses to negotiate with Israel unless certain preconditions are met, and has admitted they have no control over Gaza. In addition, Hamas has accused the PA of committing crimes against Gaza citizens.

Regarding the incitement against Israel taught in Arab schools, al-Ajami toed the PA party line claiming, "Everything the Israeli government has said about incitement in Palestinian schoolbooks is completely untrue. The Palestinian Authority switched its schoolbooks in 2001, and the current books are carefully examined."

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