Monday, July 11, 2011
Libyan government delegation visits Israel
Source: Press TV
A Libyan business delegation loyal to embattled ruler Muammar Gaddafi has traveled to Israel and held meetings with senior Israeli politicians.
It was not immediately clear why the pro-Gaddafi delegation visited Israel but according to Israeli sources, the Libyans traveled to Israel in a bid to repair the tarnished image of their nation and ruler.
The Libyan delegation of four businessmen has reportedly met with Israel's opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who had expressed support for anti-Gaddafi protesters when a popular uprising began against his rule.
According to Israel Channel 2 News, the Libyans gave Livni a CD containing a personal recorded message from Gaddafi.
They also met with Kadima lawmaker Meir Sheetrit and Jews of Libyan origin in Netanya.
The Libyan delegation's visit has caused a dispute between Israeli interior ministry and foreign ministry with each blaming the other for granting visas to the Libyans.
The Libyan delegation obtained visas from the Israeli embassy in Paris after gaining approval from Israeli security services.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports suggest that the embattled Libyan ruler might seek asylum in Israel.
Israel's Channel 2 News last year interviewed two Israeli Jewish women of Libyan origin who claimed to be relatives of Gaddafi.
"The story goes that Gaddafi's grandmother, herself a Jewess, was married to a Jewish man at first. But he treated her badly, so she ran away and married a Muslim sheikh. Their child was the mother of Gaddafi", said Rachel Saada, who claimed to be a distant relative of Gaddafi.
Should their story be true, which would make Gaddafi a Jewish, then Israel would be obligated by its own laws to grant him asylum.
Libya has been the scene of intense fighting between government troops and revolutionary forces since mid-February.
Tripoli and some western provinces remain under Gaddafi's control while the revolutionaries hold Benghazi, most of the east and several western cities.
The deadly conflict has left thousands of people dead and many others wounded.
Revolutionary forces want an end to Gaddafi's decades-long rule.