BRUSSELS, Monday, May 23, 2022 (WAFA) – A planned visit by a European Parliament delegation to Palestine was cancelled after Israel denied the delegation entry
Manu Pineda, President of the Delegation for EU-Palestinian relations in the European Parliament, said that the mission he was going to lead to Palestine, including a visit to the Gaza Strip, was cancelled after Israel did not allow his entry as president of the delegation.
“Tomorrow I should start a mission from the European Parliament to Palestine,” said Pineda in a tweet. “However, Israel forbids my entry as President of the Delegation. The mission has been cancelled.”
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement on May 19 that it has not approved Pineda’s visit.
In reaction, the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament denounced the Israeli ban.
“Israeli authorities’ decision to ban the Chair of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Palestine, Manu Pined, from entering Palestine just before the start of the mission is unjustified, outrageous and democratically unacceptable.”
The Left in the European Parliament also added: “Israel is blocking the work of the European Parliament. Ahead of a planned visit, Chair of Parliament's Delegation for relations with Palestine, Manu Pineda, has been denied entry by Israeli authorities. The delegation was also refused access to Gaza.”
European Parliament president, Roberta Metsola, said in a tweet that she regrets the Israeli decision.
“I regret the decision to refuse entry to Israel to Manu Pineda, the Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Palestine. I will raise the issue directly with authorities concerned. Respect for MEPs and the European Parliament is essential for good relations.”
Irish member of the parliament, Chris MacManus, said he was “disappointed but no surprise that the Israeli authorities have refused a European Parliament delegation of six MEPs, including myself, entry to Gaza also barring our Chair Manu Pineda entry to Palestine.”
Margrete Auken, Member of the European Parliament for the Greens, also criticized the Israeli ban.
“Big scandal: Israel authorities banned last night the chair of the delegation to Palestine to travel on the mission to Palestine which was supposed to start tomorrow morning. Now we cancel the whole mission - Israel cannot decide whom from European Parliament can go.”