Al-Malki: Barred envoys to meet in Amman
Published Sunday 05/08/2012 (updated) 07/08/2012 12:25
A boy watches as women walk in front of a section of Israel's wall near
Ramallah, on Aug. 3. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Non-Aligned Movement committee on Palestine will hold a press conference in Amman on Sunday after Israel denied entry to four foreign ministers and ambassadors, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister said.
Israel, which controls access to the West Bank, denied entry to delegations from Bangladesh, Cuba, Malaysia and Indonesia, quashing plans for a meeting of the 15-member committee in Ramallah.
Riyad al-Malki told reporters in Ramallah that international delegations from the committee's 15 member states would respond to the forced cancellation of the two-day meeting at a press conference in Amman. Al-Malki will join the delegations in Jordan, he said.
Al-Malki said that by preventing the Ramallah conference, Israel had strengthened the committee's determination to support the Palestinian cause.
The PA minister added that Israel's violations of Palestinians' rights could not be ignored by preventing international delegations from entering the West Bank.
Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Reuters that Israel denied entry to representatives of countries which did not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
A day after announcing that it would restart its bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations, a campaign strongly opposed by the United States and Israel, the Palestinian Authority bristled at the Israeli move.
Palestinian officials had hoped entrance into UN agencies and attendance of international gatherings in the capacity of a state would improve their standing internationally and undermine Israel's 45-year occupation of the West Bank.
PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said Israel's denial of entry to the envoys was "a blatant and crude exercise of power and a form of political siege."
"Israel's treatment of Palestine as an internal issue and its attempts to isolate the Palestinian people from the rest of the world further emphasize why we need to achieve state status at the United Nations as a step towards our exercise of self-determination and freedom," she said in a statement.
She added: "We applaud the position of solidarity adopted by representatives of the other Non-Aligned Movement countries in response to Israel’s arrogant refusal to allow international diplomats from having access to Palestine."
The Non-Aligned Movement, founded during the Cold War to advocate the causes of the developing world, was to convene an unprecedented, high-level meeting in the West Bank in solidarity with the Palestinian leadership, in advance of an annual meeting in Iran at the end of the month.
"Nothing constructive, to say the very least, has ever come out of this committee in the past, and now that it is going to meet in Iran under the chairmanship of Tehran, expectations could not be lower," Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Reuters contributed to this report.