TEL AVIV – Israel on Monday announced that it will bar the entry of a delegation of European officials due to their efforts in promoting boycotts of the Jewish state.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said in a statement that he will heed Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s recommendation to deny entry to the group’s 20 participants, including French dignitaries and members of the European Parliament.
The group, which was scheduled to tour Israel and the Palestinian Authority territories from Nov 19-23, said that one of the main goals of the trip was to meet the high-level Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who is currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail for orchestrating terror attacks during the second Intifada. They intended to offer Barghouti and other Palestinian security prisoners their support.
“This is not the first time that I have prevented the entry of boycott activists who are against Israel,” Deri said. “This time, however, we are talking about a senior group of European officials who come to act against Israel.”
Deri added that he hoped the advance notification would deter them from making the journey at all.
Erdan said he was particularly disturbed about the delegation’s request to meet with Barghouti.
“We will not allow entry to those who actively call for harming the State of Israel, especially in light of their request to meet and offer support to the arch-murderer Barghouti, and thus to support terror,” he stated. “We are talking about senior political leaders who actively support the boycott against Israel and are even advancing it.”