East Libyan minister meets Israeli politicians at secret conference

East Libyan minister meets Israeli politicians at secret conference
2 min read
04 July, 2017
Omar al-Gawairi was photographed shaking hands with Israel’s Minister of Communications, Ayoub Kara, but did not try to publicise his attendance on social media.
Gawairi was pictured next to two prominent Israeli politicians [Source: Rodiaki]
An east Libyan minister with links to the head of the Libyan National Army, General Khalifa Haftar, was photographed next to two prominent Israelis on Saturday.

Omar al-Gawairi, the Minister of Media, Culture and Antiquities for the General National Congress in Beida 'secretly' attended a conference on the right of return for Libyan Jews in Rhodes, Greece.

Gawairi was photographed next to Yehiel "Hilik" Bar, Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and Ayoub Kara, Israel's Minister of Communications, but made no attempt to publicise his appearance on social media.

The conference, held at the Rodos Palace Hotel from 29 June - 2 July, was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the "last exodus of Jews from Libya", due to the 1967 war with Israel.

The minister's appearance may be considered controversial, as Libya does not currently recognise Israel and General Haftar himself once fought against Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

This is not the first time that Haftar as been linked with Israelis.

According to official documents filed with the US Department of Justice, Haftar paid $6 million for the services of the Canadian lobbying firm, Dickens and Madson, headed by Ari Ben-Menashe, an ex-junior officer in the Israeli intelligence.

This is also not the first time that Israeli ministers have secretly met with Libyan officials.

Ayoub Kara reported to Saudi Arabia's Asharq Al-Awsat in 2011 that ex-Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, offered to sign the Israeli–Libyan Peace Treaty to stop the 2011 NATO attack on Libya.

Gawairi reportedly agreed that Libya's Jewish community has the right to return to the country and to any compensation due for losses suffered.

The event was co-organised by Rafael Luzon, chairperson of the Union of Libyan Jews and the Iraqi-Jewish property developer, Edwin Shuker.

Also in attendance was Robert Halfon MP of the UK, whose grandfather was of Libyan Jewish origin.