KNESSET SPEAKER Yuli Edelstein addresses the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
(photo credit: BOAZ ARAD)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein remained defiant in the face of pro-Palestinian protests on Monday, ahead of his expected speech in the UK House of Commons next week.
“I am proud to represent the Knesset and the State of Israel, also as a settler of Judea and Samaria,” Edelstein stated.
The speaker moved late last year to Herzliya to live with Irina Nevzlin, chairwoman of the Diaspora museum Bet Hatfutsot, to whom he recently became engaged. However, he maintains his previous home in Neveh Daniel in Gush Etzion, where he spends some weekends.
“For some reason, [my place of residence] never bothered any high-ranking visitor who sat with me in the Knesset, but when it’s their territory, then out of cheap populism and trying to curry favor with extremists, they are willing to create headlines,” Edelstein added.
Edelstein thanked the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow for his invitation to speak before MPs and peers on Tuesday, at a British Group Inter-Parliamentary Union (BGIPU) event.
Palestinian envoy to the UK Manuel Hassassian wrote in The Independent that Edelstein’s appearance in parliament would legitimize the “occupation.”
“Mr. Edelstein lives on an illegal Israeli settlement built on Palestinian land and he publicly opposed Palestinian statehood,” Hassassian wrote.
“I am quite incredulous that Mr. Edelstein is being given a platform in Parliament itself… the self-same Parliament that only a short time ago voted to recognize the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and a state of their own.”
Hassassian also came out against a recent British cabinet decision to stop “inappropriate procurement boycotts by public authorities,” including discrimination against Israeli suppliers, a blow to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Edelstein’s planned visit gained traction on social media, with pro-Palestinian accounts sharing a blog post from an anti-Israel website criticizing the BGIPU for holding the event.