Former PA minister and billionaire slammed by Palestinian boycott group for discussing peace with supermarket mogul

Munib Al-Masri discussed Arab League peace plan with Rami Levy at Etzion Bloc store

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

The Palestinian billionaire Munib Al-Masri, a former Palestinian Authority minister, has become the latest target of a boycott drive aimed at ending normalization efforts between Israelis and Palestinians.

Masri has been singled out by the Boycott National Committee (BNC) for discussing the Arab League’s 2002 Peace Initiative with Israeli businessman Rami Levy, at a meeting at one of Levy’s supermarkets in the West Bank, as part of an effort to persuade Israelis to take the initiative seriously.

Masri told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency on August 1 that a group of independent Palestinians has launched an effort to revive the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, a peace plan outline adopted by the Arab League but largely disregarded by Israeli decision makers. Masri said the Palestinians intended to reintroduce the plan to members of Israeli civil society “across the political spectrum.”

“In order to make sure that this initiative is taken seriously on the Israeli side, we are trying to present it to various Israeli elements, especially from outside the peace camp,” Masri told Ma’an. “The peace camp is a traditional supporter of the initiative, but these days it does not influence Israeli public opinion or developments inside Israel.”

The outreach effort had received the blessing of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Masri said.

In June, Masri told The Times of Israel that any approach other than the Arab Peace Initiative is doomed to fail.

Israeli supermarket mogul Rami Levy (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Israeli supermarket mogul Rami Levy (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Masri’s search for an unlikely Israeli partner led him to  supermarket mogul Rami Levy. But since a number of Levy’s supermarkets are located in the West Bank, the entire chain has been branded by BNC as supporting the settlement enterprise.

In a statement published on Bethlehem Radio 2000 on Saturday, BNC lambasted Masri for meeting with Rami Levy — a meeting reported by Israeli daily Haaretz on July 24 — at the Etzion Bloc supermarket branch.

“The warm relationship revealed recently between a segment of Palestinian capital and Israeli capital is among the worst kinds of normalization,” the BNC statement read. “It gives the occupation-state a fig leaf with which to cover its continued occupation, ethnic cleansing, and racism.”

The statement asserted that the Arab Peace Initiative had been rejected by Palestinians, since it ignored the rights of Arab Israelis and attempted to eliminate the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees by calling for “an agreed upon solution” to their plight through negotiations with Israel.

The statement ended by demanding that the PLO put an end to the meetings between Masri and Levy.

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