European Union lawmaker denied entry to Israel, deported to Spain

European parliament member who joined 2015 flotilla to Gaza stopped at airport; EU expresses confusion and outrage, Foreign Minister said he made the call to ban entry to lawmaker.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A European Union parliament member who participated in a 2015 flotilla that attempted to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was denied entry to Israel after landing at Ben Gurion Airport Monday, and was placed on a returning flight to her native Spain.

In a statement, the EU said Israel’s decision to refuse entry to Ana Miranda was “deeply disappointing.”

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said “we are demanding an explanation from Israeli authorities” for the decision not to allow Miranda, who had arrived as part of an EU delegation to the Palestinian territories, to enter Israel.

“Deported by Israel! After many hours of waiting since 9 p.m., Israel does not allow me to enter as a member of the European Parliament delegation to Palestine,” Miranda captioned a video from the airport, where she spoke about the turn of events. “It’s almost 5 in the morning and I’m kicked out on the first flight to Madrid.”

Miranda added in the video that the move was a “diplomatic affront” to the European Union legislature and demonstrated “disrespect.”

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“It’s a diplomatic conflict [and] it’s intolerable that Israel exerts control over members of a delegation that’s going to Palestine, not going to Israel,” Miranda told Politico.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Mission to the EU said in a statement to Politico that “the only reason that she was not allowed to enter is the issue that she tried to enter [Israel] illegally,” a reference to her participation in the 2015 flotilla.

Politico reported that it had viewed email exchanges between the EU’s External Action Service in Israel and Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which stated that another EU parliament member would not be permitted to enter Israel due to his support for Hamas.

However, the emails reportedly did not mention Miranda or state that she would be denied entry.

EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said in a statement that the decision was “surprising” because Miranda’s “entry had been authorized expressly by the Israeli authorities.”

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in a statement that he made the decision to ban Miranda from the country.

“I instructed [border officials] not to permit entry to lawmakers who have expressed support for terrorist organizations or those who have tried in the past to illegally enter Israel,” he said.