Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that Jewish leaders in Britain cancelled a meeting that was scheduled with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, following intense pressure from the Israeli embassy in London, and Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem.Haaretz stated that Israeli and British government officials pressured Jewish leaders into cancelling their meeting with Abbas, and added that Abbas has been trying over the last two years to approach and hold talks with Jewish lobbies all over the world.
Abbas managed to hold meetings with Jewish lobbies in Buenos Aires – Argentina, Paris, New York and other major cities.
Haaretz reported that Abbas believes that strengthening his relation with Jewish lobbies around the world would lead to pressure on Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The efforts to hold the meeting in London started weeks before Abbas headed there, while members of the British Foreign Ministry and the Palestinian Embassy in London were involved in talks to arrange these meetings.
The Israeli embassy in London contacted the Israeli government, especially the office of Israeli Prime Minister, but the official response was that “it is preferable, under the current circumstances, to avoid such meetings.’
One of the official Israeli stances in this regard was “taking into consideration that Abbas does not want to hold a meeting with Netanyahu, Jewish groups in London should not grant him [Abbas] any legitimacy.’
Later on, Abbas held what was described as personal talks with some Jewish leaders in London, and managed to meet with Ronald Cohen, a Jewish investor and businessman, and Ronald Lauder, who heads the World Jewish Congress.
It is worth mentioning that Lauder has a close relation with Netanyahu, but this relation witnessed deterioration after Lauder strongly criticized Netanyahu for his political stances, and stated that “the only way to remove Israel from its isolation is to start negotiations with the Palestinians without preconditions”.
It is worth mentioning that Netanyahu’s envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, met last Saturday with Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, in the Jordan’s Capital, Amman.
The meeting is the fourth in recent weeks, but no breakthrough was reported; several Palestinian factions slammed Erekat and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank for holding talks with Israel officials.
The P.A previously declared that it will not hold talks with Israel until its halts all of its violations in the occupied territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem, and until it halts all of its illegal settlement construction and expansion in the area.
During the meeting, Erekat handed Molcho a letter demanding Israel to release Dr. Aziz Dweik, the elected head of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Dr. Dweik of Hamas was kidnapped a few days ago at a roadblock in the West Bank.
The letter also included a demand for the release of 23 elected legislators imprisoned by Israel, including the release of legislators Marwan Barghouthi of Fateh movement, and legislator Ahmad Saadat of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the release of 130 Palestinian detainees who have been imprisoned since before the Oslo agreement of 1993.