The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Thursday blasted Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for touring “illegal settlements” during his visit to Israel this past week.
Kenyatta, who met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his visit, visited eastern Jerusalem and an Israeli community in the Jordan Valley.
The PLO Executive Committee condemned the visit and, in a statement quoted by the Chinese Xinhua news agency, said that international treaties consider “the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967” as part of the “state of Palestine”.
As such, the PLO said, "No one has the right to visit in these territories without an in-advance coordination with the Palestinian leadership."
Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said in that "such behaviors boost the Israeli occupation and create a position of collusion between Kenya and the Israeli occupation."
Ashrawi called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab League and the Organization of African Unity to declare their rejection to such behaviors and take measures to correct this situation.
The PLO's Secretary-General Saeb Erekat also condemned the visit in a statement quoted by the Palestinian Authority-based WAFA news agency.
“This visit breached Kenya's obligations not to recognize as lawful a situation created through the illegal use of force and other violations of peremptory norms under international law,” stated Erekat.
He said that he would raise this issue within the context of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Palestinian officials often condemn visits by politicians from foreign countries to areas it considers “occupied Palestinian territory”.
In 2013, the Palestinian Authority took issue with then Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird's meeting with then Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni at her office in eastern Jerusalem.
Baird was unfazed by the criticism, saying that where he has coffee with someone is “irrelevant” to the larger discussion of Middle East peace and does not signal a shift in Canadian foreign policy.