Palestinian activists urge arrest of Israel’s Mofaz in West Bank


Palestinian activists on Thursday urged the attorney general to arrest Israeli vice prime minister Shaul Mofaz when he visits Ramallah for talks on Sunday.

The activists, who staged a small protest outside the attorney general’s office, said Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas should be “ashamed” to meet ex-general Mofaz for talks in the West Bank town.

“We came here today to the attorney general’s office to demand the arrest of Mofaz, rather than his reception,” activist Ali Obidaat told AFP.

“Mofaz is responsible for crimes against our people in Gaza and the West Bank,” he added.

The activists said they belong to a group called “Youth who love the nation,” adding they would seek to submit a letter to the attorney general formally requesting the arrest of Mofaz.

Mofaz, a former defense minister who also served as the chief of staff of Israel’s armed forces, now heads the Kadima party which recently joined Israel’s ruling coalition.

The rally attracted about 15 demonstrators only who waved signs reading “Mofaz is not welcome in Ramallah” and “Shame on our leadership for receiving killers.”

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said on Thursday that Mofaz requested the meeting with Abbas, stressing they will have a chance to talk but not to negotiate.

“This meeting will not be a negotiations meeting,” he told AFP.

It will be, however, the highest-level meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials since last summer, when Abbas said he met secretly with President Shimon Peres.

A spokesman for Mofaz has declined to confirm or deny Sunday’s meeting.

Talks between the two sides have been on hold since late September 2010, with the Palestinians refusing to resume them without a settlement freeze and a deal to base border talks on the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War.

Israel wants talks without preconditions, and the international community has urged both sides to pursue a path back to the negotiating table.

Early this year Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho and Erakat held several rounds of “proximity” talks in Amman, intended to chart a path back to negotiations.

But the talks ended without a way forward, and a later exchange of letters between Abbas and Netanyahu also failed to result in a plan for the resumption of negotiations.