Lapid bars party members from Abbas meeting

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Israeli political party Yesh Atid, has barred five party lawmakers from meeting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank.

Abbas had invited the lawmakers, who are members of a Knesset caucus for making peace between Israel and the Palestinians, to a toast in honor of Rosh Hashanah, Haaretz reported.

The five lawmakers withdrew their acceptance of the invitation, according to the newspaper.

Lapid ordered the withdrawal because it could prejudice the work of the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams, which have met three times in the last three weeks for renewed peace talks, according to reports.

Abbas’ invitation came after a good-will meeting held last month at the Knesset attended by Israeli lawmakers and Palestinian representatives chosen by Abbas.