EU Parliament gives platform to well-known PFLP member

Khaled Barakat was invited to speak at the EU by pro-BDS MEP Manu Pineda, who has met with Hamas and PFLP leaders in Gaza

By
July 22, 2019 16:52
EU Parliament gives platform to well-known PFLP member

Workers adjust a European flag outside the EU Parliament ahead of the EU elections in Brussels. (photo credit: YVES HERMAN / REUTERS)

The EU has allowed a well known member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to speak at the European Parliament in Brussels.

This is despite the fact that the group has been designated a terrorist organization by the EU, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and Israel.

Khaled Barakat, who is a senior member of the PFLP and a member of pro-BDS and PFLP-linked NGO Samidoun, spoke at the EU Parliament earlier this month after being invited by newly elected European Parliament Member (MEP) from Spain Manu Pineda.

Pineda himself is also a vehemently pro-BDS activist. In April 2013, he posted a picture on Facebook posing with PFLP terrorists, whose faces were covered and who were also holding large weapons, while he was visiting the Gaza Strip as an activist.
The newly elected MEP is a founding member of the Unadikum Association, which allegedly fights for Palestinian rights, but also supports violent resistance. He has also met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, proudly posting a picture together with him in November 2012. 

In 2015, Pineda posted a picture with Ahmed Tamimi and her father, saying it was an “honor” to meet them, and also commemorated former PFLP secretary general Abu Ali Mustafa on his Instagram account. It’s believed that Mustafa was behind about 10 car-bomb terrorist attacks conducted by the terrorist group across Israel during his time as secretary general between 2000 and 2001.

Meanwhile, Barakat, who has a history of inciting violent resistance Israel, has reportedly been banned from speaking to groups of more than 10 in Germany.

Earlier this month, “German police detained Barakat... as he headed to an event about Palestine, which had been organized by a number of Arab communities in the German capital,” The Palestine Chronicle wrote. Barakat reportedly works as a freelance writer.

Citing the Arab 48 Arabic news website, the Chronicle said “the German police informed Barakat that he is now banned from taking part in any political or cultural events, as well as family meetings with more than 10 attendees. If he breaks these restrictions, he will be detained for one year and forced to pay a fine.”

He has been written about and mentioned many times in articles on the PFLP’s English and Arabic website, condoning “armed resistance” by the Palestinians in some of them.

Barakat has also been accused of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

“Especially in light of the Bundestag’s recent declaration that BDS is indeed a form of antisemitism, it is encouraging to see that authorities in Germany are actively treating boycott and other delegitimization efforts like the bigotry that they truly are,” Olga Deutsch, vice president of NGO Monitor, told The Jerusalem Post by email earlier this month.

“The case of Barakat is especially relevant because his group, Samidoun, is not merely an agitator for political attacks on the Jewish state, but because it is also linked to the EU- and US-designated terror group PFLP," she said. "Samidoun is actually part of a network of NGOs connected to that Palestinian terror group, many of which have recently had European government funding cut. We hope that Barakat serves to highlight the work yet to be done in combating these radical, anti-peace groups.”

According to the Strategic Affairs Ministry, “Barakat was instrumental, inter alia, in transferring funds from Lebanon and Syria to Belgium, and in arranging military training in Lebanon for a PFLP operative, who then carried the funds to Belgium.”

In an op-ed in The Algeimeiner on Friday, intern at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Rebecca Federman and research analyst David May warned that “amidst concerns over extremism and antisemitism in Europe, the European Parliament should stop hosting speakers calling for the discriminatory boycott of the Jewish state.”

The writers also stressed that Palestinian newspapers reported that in 2016, South African Deputy Ambassador to the EU Ellwyn Beck "received a delegation from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, including Khaled Barakat, Mohammad Khatib, Charlotte Kates [Samidoun international coordinator and wife of Barakat],  and activist Mustafa Awad" – all of whom are leaders of Samidoun.

“During this meeting, Barakat declared, ‘The goal of our struggle is to topple the project of the Zionist movement represented by its racist settlement entity and to build a democratic Palestine on the entire national territory with Jerusalem as its capital,’” the two pointed out.

Samidoun also hosted an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the PFLP, featuring terrorist and plane hijacker Leila Khaled as the keynote speaker, the writers noted.

On Friday, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan sent a letter to newly elected EU President David Maria Sassoli, saying that the EU “Parliament must not be used as a platform for members of murderous terrorist organizations." He made it clear that it’s known that Barakat, Kates and the European Coordinator for Samidoun Mohammed Khatib are linked to terrorism.

He called on Sassoli “to consider condemning the invitation of these terror-linked individuals by MEP Pineda, who in the past has expressed his support for EU- designated terrorist organizations such as the PFLP.

“All indications are that MEP Pineda was aware of the links of his invitees to the PFLP,” Erdan wrote. “This must raise questions about the appropriateness of his [Pineda’s] roles as a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and as a substitute on the subcommittees on Human Rights and on Security and Defense of the European Parliament.”

The minister also asked for the EU president to “consider putting in place a robust system to ensure that members of designated terrorist organizations such as the PFLP are not allowed to enter the European Parliament in the future.

“Such unfortunate occurrences must not be allowed to repeat themselves,” he added.

Erdan highlighted that this was not the first time the EU Parliament has hosted a PFLP terrorist.

In 2017, Leila Khaled made a speech at the European Parliament, following which Erdan was promised by Sassoli’s predecessor Antonio Tajani “to systematically deny access to all [terror-linked] individuals” from addressing the EU Parliament.

He appealed to Sassoli to honor this commitment made by Tajani.


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