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Rami Levy joins Nablus economic summit, factions outraged
Published Monday 05/11/2012 (updated) 07/11/2012 15:57
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An Israeli worker holds her head as foreign and Palestinian activists
holding Palestinian flags march through a Rami Levy supermarket in
Modiin Illit settlement, Oct. 24, 2012. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- An Israeli businessmen who owns supermarkets in Jewish settlements on Sunday took part in a meeting of senior political and economic figures in Nablus.

Rami Levy, founder of a popular supermarket brand bearing his name, was part of a delegation of Israeli business leaders that joined the talks, held at the home of Palestinian business magnate Munib al-Masri.

The former secretary-general of the Arab League Amr Moussa, former Jordanian PM Abdelsalam al-Majali, UN special coordinator for the peace process Robert Serry and several other Arab, Turkish and European figures also attended the conference.

A statement issued by the organizers said the meeting intended to "form 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," the organizers said.

Several Palestinian factions condemned the participation of the Israeli delegation.

Fatah official in Nablus, Mahmoud Ishtayeh, said that their attendance at the meeting, above all Rami Levy, gives legitimacy to Israeli settlements in the West Bank at a time when official government policy is to boycott settlement products.

Bassam al-Salhi, the secretary general of the leftist Palestinian People's Party, said that nothing justified the visit of an Israeli delegation, which he said undermined international solidarity efforts to boycott settlement products.

There are several Rami Levy stores in the occupied West Bank, which attract both Israeli and Palestinian customers. Palestinian businessmen warn the mass-chain undercuts the local economy, and profits from Israeli-government support to settlements.

On Oct. 24, Palestinian, international and Israelis held a protest at a Rami Levy store in a Jewish settlement near Ramallah, calling for a boycott of Israeli products. Four activists were detained and several injured as Israeli police and soldiers broke up the demonstration.
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1 ) Outlier / USA
06/11/2012 01:30
When all is said and done - and there is a long way to go in this regard - Israel and Palestine WILL be neighbors. Cooperation now and into the future is a good thing.

2 ) Amira / Canada
06/11/2012 03:05
[ The former secretary-general of the Arab League Amr Moussa, former Jordanian PM Abdelsalam al-Majali, UN special coordinator for the peace process Robert Serry and several other Arab, Turkish and European figures also attended the conference. A statement issued by the organizers said the meeting intended to "form an international coalition ... to break the deadlock in the peace process." ]

Such insanity is hard to believe! No wonder the occupation is taking more and more land.

3 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
06/11/2012 11:20
Rami Levi employs over 100 Palestinians and his stores do not discriminate. The Palestinians work in all positions including floor managers (but no, not store managers yet). People are upset because it ruins their attempt to pretend there is "apartheid". Rami Levi believes in coexistence and free markets. You don't. Amira, if you don't like it you are invited to open competing supermarkets in the West Bank.

4 ) oren / here
06/11/2012 11:27
Is it bad that I am thrilled that the girl behind the counter in that photo looks so miserable?

5 ) Rami / Palestine
06/11/2012 11:53
What's even more shocking than Rami Levy joining this conference is that Palestinians go to the Rami Levy supermarkets in WB settlements to purchase goods. In effect, they are supporting their own occupation by doing so. Boycotting isn't just for international supporters. You should be doing it in your daily lives here in Palestine too, geniuses. I refuse to shop at Rami Levy. There is nothing there that I can't find in a Palestinian store. I won't allow my wife or my family to go there and shop

6 ) richard / england
06/11/2012 22:50
Maybe if this happened a little more often we would be on our way to somewhere . All of those that critisise meetings like this , then go on to critisise the stalemate in any form of negotiations . YOU MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR ENEMIES , NOT YOUR FRIENDS . People putting their heads in the sand is about the most negative thing I can think of

7 ) Robby / USA
08/11/2012 05:40
3 ) Brian Cohen / Israel "Amira, if you don't like it you are invited to open competing supermarkets in the West Bank." Its so easy for westerners to sit on the sidelines and take pot-shots at people trying to make their lives a little better. Let people live in poverty, or even die, but don't compromise with the Israeli's. These people will not put their money where their mouths are.
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