Israel revokes PA foreign minister’s VIP passport

Hebrew-language media reported that Maliki was physically searched and his staff was questioned at the crossing point for over an hour.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israeli officials seized Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki’s diplomatic documents at the Allenby Bridge on Sunday evening, as the politician returned from a trip to the Netherlands.

Maliki had traveled to the Hague to meet with International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, in an effort to speed up the newly opened war crimes probe against Israel.

His office said that Maliki had spent his visit to The Hague “stressing the importance of expediting investigations into the crimes committed in the territory of the State of Palestine, in a manner that ensures justice for the victims and their families among the Palestinian people.”

Hebrew-language media reported that Maliki was physically searched and his staff was questioned at the crossing point for over an hour.

PA officials claimed that the confiscation of al-Maliki’s VIP travel papers were in retaliation for his trip and that the act signified an act of aggression against the entity.

“This is the Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine. He doesn’t represent himself. He represents the State of Palestine, and we regard this as an attack against the State of Palestine,” Ahmed al-Deek, a representative from Maliki’s office, told Reuters.

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The PA claimed that the Shin Bet Israeli security body was responsible for the seizure. The Shin Bet declined to comment to the media about the incident, refusing to confirm or deny the PA’s version of events.

A senior Israeli government official told Walla! News, “Riad Malki is leading Palestinian efforts before the International Criminal Court. with the purpose of harming the freedom of movement of senior Israeli officials and even to endanger their safety. These kinds of confrontation actions are inconsistent with the established relations between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“Against the backdrop of Malki’s activities designed to harm Israel, it was decided that there was no basis for al-Maliki to benefit from ‘special privileges’ when he crosses borders. It is emphasized that these are ‘special privileges,’ whereas any rights he has as a resident of the PA will remain and nothing regarding them was impinged.”