The Palestinian Authority envoy to Britain has attacked an invitation issued for the Speaker of the Knesset to speak in the British Parliament.
The Speaker of the Knesset is Yuli Edelstein who, the envoy claims, lives in a “settlement”, in the Jewish town of Neve Daniel, which is located in northern Gush Etzion in Samaria. He is set to address British MPs and peers at an event organized by the British Inter-Parliamentary Union Group next month.
According to a report in the Independent, Manuel Hassassian, who serves as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s UK ambassador, believes that Edelstein’s appearance will be seen as “a legitimization of Israeli occupation”.
“Mr Edelstein lives on an illegal Israeli settlement built on Palestinian land and he publicly opposes Palestinian statehood,” wrote Hassassian in his article.
Edelstein responded on Monday in the Israeli press and said “I wish to thank the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow for inviting me to come. I am proud to represent the Knesset and the State of Israel as someone who lives in Judea and Samaria. The calls for a boycott by pro-Palestinian entities are hypocritical and inflammatory and they will not dissuade me from standing before parliament and telling the truth about Israel.”
Edelstein added that “For some reason no high level official has ever had a problem sitting next to me in Israel’s Knesset. However, when I am invited to speak in their territory, people take issue with it in an effort to create cheap “popular” headlines and gather sway with extremist groups.”
Edelstein’s visit to Westminster comes following instructions issued by the Cabinet Office to prevent public bodies from boycotting Israel and stop the “inappropriate procurement boycotts by public authorities”. The Cabinet Office issued a statement regarding the new agreement which read: “Any discrimination against Israeli suppliers involving procurements would be in breach of agreement.”