Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A planned meeting of Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator for government activities in the territories, in the European Parliament was canceled on Tuesday shortly before it was to take place because of objections by left-wing politicians.
Mordechai, in Europe to discuss closer cooperation with the EU, a body extremely critical of Israel’s polices in the West Bank, was scheduled to meet with the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Israel, a body responsible for “maintaining and developing Parliament’s contacts and relations with the Knesset.”
Italian MEP Fulvio Martusciello, the chairman of the group, sent a note inviting some members of the parliament to meet Mordechai, saying his visit presented an “excellent opportunity to carry an open dialogue, as well as raise issues of mutual interest.”
The planned visit, however, triggered opposition.
Portuguese parliamentarian Marisa Matias, from the European United Left–Nordic Green Left grouping, was quoted as saying that “giving him [Mordechai] a platform to host a lecture would legitimize his violations of international law and human rights. Rather than giving a warm welcome to those who stand for repression and apartheid, the EU institutions should pressure the Israeli government to abide by the rules of international law and UN resolutions. We must bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
Another member of the same political grouping, Northern Ireland MEP Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin), chairwoman of the parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the Palestine Legislative Council, welcomed the cancellation, even though she said the reasons behind it were unclear.
But, she was quoted as saying, “We condemn the fact that it was set to go ahead in the first place. We can’t accept someone with such a track record being welcomed to the European Parliament. Put simply, this man has blood on his hands.”
Hadar Horon, the spokeswoman for the office of the coordinator for government activities in the territories, said that Mordechai's visit was meant to strengthen cooperation with the EU. While acknowledging that the meeting with the parliament members was called off, she said that Mordechai was “continuing with his meetings in Europe, where he will relay his message.”