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EU parliamentarians denied entry into Israel over planned visit with Barghouti

Palestinian protesters wave flags bearing the image of jailed uprising leader Marwan Barghouti at a rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah on April 17, 2017 in support of a hunger strike he has called among prisoners in Israeli jails
ABBAS MOMANI (AFP)

Members of a delegation of European and French parliamentarians and mayors were on Monday denied entry into Israel over their intention to visit convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti in prison and their participation in activities related to the Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.

The delegation of 20 European and French lawmakers were scheduled to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority between November 19 to 23, stating their intention to meet with Barghouti in support of Palestinian prisoners.

On the recommendation of Minister for Strategic Affairs and the Palestinian Authority, Gilad Erdan, Israel's Minster of the Interior Aryeh Deri announced that members of the delegation would not be permitted entry to Israel upon their arrival.

The delegation was updated of the decision in advance in order that they do not undertake the trip.

In March, the Israeli Knesset passed a new law giving Interior Ministry representatives at border crossings the authority to deny visas to non-Israeli citizens who are believed to have been involved in BDS activities.

Since then, many groups and individuals have been denied entry, including some before they even board their flights.

"This is not the first time that I have prevented the entry of boycott activists into Israel," Deri said of Monday's decision. "This time, however, this is a delegation of senior European officials who come to act against Israel."

Deri said that after examining the background and circumstances of the trip, he decided that the delegation "had no place in Israel."

"We will not allow the entry of those who call to attack the State of Israel actively, especially in light of their request to meet and support the murderer Barghouti, and consistently promoting boycotting Israel," Erdan said.

Barghouti, a prominent figure in the Palestinian Fatah movement, is currently serving five life sentences for murders committed during the second Palestinian intifada (uprising).

In May this year, he led over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in a 40-day hunger strike which sought better conditions for inmates. It was one of the largest-scale hunger strikes ever taken by Palestinian prisoners.

BDS is a global movement that advocates boycotts against Israel as a state.

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Western Europe pursues her war against IL.

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