Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein slammed the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) for criticizing Israel’s arrest of Hamas lawmakers but not the terrorist organization’s kidnapping of three teens earlier this month.
Knesset diplomatic adviser Oded Ben-Hur said on Tuesday that he is working on an appropriate response to the fact that the international forum ignored the kidnapping.
“I got a letter from the secretary of this important inter-parliamentary organization that was the kind of angry letter that makes you think you must have missed the first one,” Edelstein quipped, speaking at a meeting of the Knesset Caucus to fight Delegitimization Monday.
The Knesset speaker said he read the letter over and over “to look for the sentences condemning the kidnapping,” to no avail.
The letter from IPU Secretary Anders P. Jonsson, obtained by The Jerusalem Post, addresses the arrest of Palestinian Legislative Council speaker Aziz Dweik and PLC members Hasan Youself and Mohammed Totah, saying the IPU’s Human Rights of Parliamentarians Committee received two official complaints.
Jonsson wrote that the arrest impaired Palestinians’ right to be represented by a person for whom they voted, as opposed to the fact that the PLC is long defunct, which the IPU leader ignored.
“The committee president and vice president are deeply concerned by this latest development and urge the Israeli authorities to comply fully with their obligations under international law,” Jonsson wrote. “I wish to recall that, with regard to speaker Dweik’s arrests in 2006 and 2012…[the IPU] repeated expressed fears that the arrests were based not on formal charges of any specific criminal activity but rather on his political affiliation.”
Jonsson called for Edelstein to ensure those arrested receive due process and that there is evidence of personal involvement in criminal activity.
Such evidence should be submitted to the Human Rights of Parliamentarians Committee, he added.
Meanwhile, MKs Nachman Shai (Labor) and Ronen Hoffman (Yesh Atid) continued in their efforts to convince member states of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to help find and bring back the abducted teens.
In a speech to PACE Tuesday, Shai said the kidnapping is “a brutal act” perpetrated by Hamas, which is considered by the EU to be a terrorist organization.
“This kidnapping goes against every basic human right which the Council of Europe is pledged to defend,” Shai said. “We should all join forces in order to combat this threat against innocent civilians, grownups as well as children and women.”
Shai expressed concern that terrorism prevents progress toward peace and quoted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as saying “those who stand behind the kidnapping did it in order to destroy the PA.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, time is running short. Act quickly!” he implored the MPs at PACE.