Recently, Israel has denied entry to a delegation from the European Parliament on relations with Palestine, intent on visiting the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT). The delegation was to review the situation in the OPT following the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF). The delegation was scheduled to meet representatives of Palestinian civil society, including: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association; Al-Haq; Bisan Center for Research and Development; Stop the Wall Campaign; The Jerusalem Human Rights Consortium; The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy; and Union of Agricultural Workers Committee (UAWC). This opportunity, for both the delegation and Palestinian civil society, was arbitrarily denied by Israel’s apartheid regime, intent on maintaining impunity for its human rights violations on both sides of the Green Line. Israel’s decision follows a history of denying both international experts and elected officials’ entry into the OPT.
Despite this decision by Israel to deny entry to elected European officials, the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, proceeded with a visit to Israel and the OPT, making a speech within the Knesset and meeting students from Tel Aviv University as well as visiting President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Al-Haq, along with the named organisations above, sent an open letter to the President of the European Parliament denouncing both the decision of Israel to deny entry to the European delegation, as well as the choice of Roberta Metsola to proceed with her visit to Israel. The letter highlighted how the visit by the President of the European Parliament would only encourage the impunity that Israel already receives for its violations of international law, including apartheid, as well as other concerns, such as Israel’s updated entry restrictions on foreigners into the West Bank, amounting to coercive policies to both force displacement of those seeking family unification, acts amounting to forcible transfer, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.
On 9 June, the President of the European Parliament responded to our letter. President Metsola stated that while she regretted Israel’s decision to deny entry to the delegation, she also believed that she used her visit to “express (her) disapproval to the highest Israeli authorities”. This does not accurately reflect the entire content of her speech, which also called for “improving ties in culture, in science, in trade, in arts, in research and in technology”. No reference was made to the killing of Shereen Abu Akleh or Israel’s 55-year occupation of the Palestinian territory.
Al-Haq welcomes the response from President Metsola, but continues to call on the international community, in particular European States and the European Union, to recognise the apartheid policies and violations of international law perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people as a whole, on both sides of the Green Line.
See President Metsola’s full response here.
 Al-Haq, ‘Open Letter to the President of the European Parliament of the Denial of European Members of Parliament into Palestine by Israeli Apartheid Regime’ (25 May 2022) available at: <https://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/20047.html>
 Al-Haq, ‘Open Letter to the President of the European Parliament of the Denial of European Members of Parliament into Palestine by Israeli Apartheid Regime’ (25 May 2022) available at: <https://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/20047.html>; Al-Jazeera, ‘New Israeli rules on foreigners visiting West Bank stir outrage’ (27 April 2022), available at: <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/4/27/new-israeli-rules-on-foreigners-visiting-west-bank-stir-outrage>
 Quoted from President Metsola’s letter