Jerusalem24– A planned visit by a European Parliament delegation to the occupied Palestinian territories was canceled after Israel denied entry to the head of the delegation.
Manu Pineda, President of the Delegation for EU-Palestinian relations in the European Parliament, said that the mission he was going to lead to the occupied territories, including a visit to the Gaza Strip, was canceled after Israel did not allow his entry as president of the delegation.
The delegation was due to meet with members of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) to discuss filing a case with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh.
Pineda shared on Twitter the letter he received from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, informing him he had been denied entry.
“From information received from the competent authorities in Israel regarding the request for the arrival of Mr. Manu Pineda, the [Foreign] Ministry wishes to update the Delegation of the European Union that Mr. Pineda’s arrival to the State of Israel was not approved.”A diplomat source told the Jerusalem Post that the MEP’s visit was rejected in light of his “anti-Israel activities.”
Pineda had previously led a delegation to the Palestinian Authority in February 2020 and was given a letter at the end of his visit informing him that any future trips to Israel would be pending advance authorization, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Israeli law specifically allows the government to bar supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement from entering the country.
Head of Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate Nasser Abu Baker told Jerusalem24, “We condemn the Israeli occupation decision to ban the chair of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Palestine.”
“The delegation was supposed to meet the PJS to hear about the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, among other meetings in the West Bank and Gaza. This is further proof that they [Israeli occupation] are involved in her killing.”
“Despite all their actions, we will continue our work to achieve justice for Shireen and will file a case with the ICC to hold Israelis accountable for their crimes.”