European lawmaker with links to Gaza terror groups banned from Israel

MEP c “has met regularly with officials from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Israel barred a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from entering the country with a visiting delegation over his past association with Gaza terror groups and support for BDS on Monday. The Europeans announced they were cancelling their trip in response.

The lawmaker in question is Manu Pineda, a Spanish communist MEP who previously lived in Gaza. He currently serves as the chairman of the European Parliament delegation for relations with the Palestinian Authority.

The lawmakers were planning meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials when Pineda received a letter from the Israel on Thursday notifying him that his visit was not approved.

Reports of Pineda’s ban first appeared on Sunday as European Parliament President Roberta Metsola arrived in Israel for a separate three-day visit. Metsola expressed “regret” at Israel’s decision.

According to Israel Hayom, “In the letter to the EU and seen by Israel Hayom, the Foreign Ministry noted the Spanish communist politician’s name had not appeared on the list of delegation members set to accompany Metsola on her Israel visit. The assessment, however, is that Pineda was denied entry to his anti-Israel activism.”

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The last time Pineda was in Israel was in 2020, also leading an MEP delegation. While departing the country, Pineda was given a letter notifying him that future visits would require Israel’s advance authorization.

A diplomatic source told Times of Israel that Pineda “has met regularly with officials from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” The source added that the final decision to bar Pineda was made by Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Pineda, after moving to Gaza in 2011, “worked as a ‘brigade member’ of Unadikum, which aims to ‘end Gaza being the world’s largest prison.’”

No other MEPs were barred entry. Euronews reported that Israel blocked the delegation from entering the Gaza Strip.

ACOM, a Spanish organization fighting BDS, responded by tweeting an undated photo of Pineda standing with armed PFLP terrorists.

The organization also said in a statement, “Pineda is a well known propagandist of Jew hatred. Member of the extremist Communist coalition that counted with Iranian funding for it foundation in Spain and is now a member of the national governing coalition , he has always bragged about his close cooperation with Hamas and the PFLP.”

ACOM added, “Roberta Matsola, President of the European Parliament, is in no position to demand explanations from the Israeli government about Pineda. Rather, she should be concerned about offering explanations herself.

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“For instance, explaining why the European Parliament has taken no action to prevent Pineda from abusing his position to collaborate with impunity with renown murderers. And why that Parliament allows such filo [sic]-terrorist to lead its ‘Delegation for Palestine.'”

In 2019, Israel barred anti-Israel U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering Israel.

After Israel announced its decision, then-Interior Minister Aryeh Deri approved Tlaib’s request to pay a visit on humanitarian grounds to see her grandmother. But then she decided not to go, because it would “kill a piece of me.”

“Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother,” Deri tweeted in response.