European Parliament President Arrives Amid Diplomatic Tiff

By Hamodia Staff

The European Parliament in Strasbourg. (Celeda)

YERUSHALAYIM – The first visit to Israel by a president of the European Parliament since 2014 is taking place amid a diplomatic flap over the barring of an EP member deemed by Israel to be an undesirable, The Times of Israel reported on Sunday.

EP president Roberta Metsola from Malta, arrived for a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

She is slated to address the Knesset on Monday, and to meet with President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and other officials.

Yad Vashem is also on the itinerary, as is a trip to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“President Metsola is expected to bring with her a message of hope, a call to strengthen relations with both Israel and the Palestinians, and to offer the goodwill and resources of the European Parliament to restart the Middle East peace process,” reads a statement by her delegation.

She also brings with her a stiff message about diplomatic relations.

On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry informed the EU delegation in Israel that European Parliamentarian Manu Pineda, a Spanish communist politician and chair of the EP Delegation for Relations with Palestine, would be barred from entering Israel on a separate visit by his delegation. In protest, all members of the small delegation canceled their visit.

Metsola indicated her disapproval, tweeting, “will raise the issue directly with authorities concerned.”

“Respect for MEPs and the European Parliament is essential for good relations,” she added.

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