A European Parliament delegation cancelled a trip to the occupied Palestinian territories yesterday after the group's chairperson, Manu Pineda, was denied entry to Israel, reported Wafa news agency.
The Spanish member of the European Parliament and chair of the parliament's delegation for relations with Palestine was scheduled to travel to the occupied Palestinian territories with a group of European lawmakers to review the situation on the ground following the assassination of Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh.
However, at late notice the group was informed that the mission would not be able to go ahead as planned due to what has been described as a "unilateral decision" taken by Israeli authorities.
"Israel is blocking the work of the European Parliament," said Pineda, adding that the delegation had also been denied access to the besieged Gaza Strip.
He shared the letter that the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which states occupation forces "cannot allow the visit to Gaza of delegations with political affiliation and legislators."
In response, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, who is currently in Israel to meet President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, said on Twitter, she regretted Israel's decision to refuse entry to Pineda and would raise the decision directly with the Israeli authorities during her visit.
"Respect for MEPs and the European Parliament is essential for good relations," she said.
I will raise the issue directly with authorities concerned.
Respect for MEPs and the European Parliament is essential for good relations.
— Roberta Metsola (@EP_President) May 22, 2022
Pineda thanked Metsola for her remarks and called on her to "apply reciprocity in our institution until the decision is reversed."
"It is important that we are united to defend the European Parliament," he said.
The European Parliament's delegation for relations with Palestine has 18 members and informs the European Union legislature about political, economic and human rights developments in the occupied territories.