Italian senator withdraws from Hamas-linked event over 'health problems'

Italian senator Tino Magni announced attendance drew criticism from Italian politicians and an Israeli diplomat.

 Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in an anti-Israel rally over tensions in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)
Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in an anti-Israel rally over tensions in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 14, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA)

Italian senator Tino Magni did not attend a Hamas-linked conference in Milan on Saturday over "health problems," Italian NGO Alliance for Israel told The Jerusalem Post.

Following The Post's report on Magni's attendance, Israeli consular for Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Lombardy Marco Carrai decried that the senator would attend the "Al-Quds [Jerusalem] is ours" conference, and expressed dismay that such an event could be held in the country.

"I find it disconcerting that in Italy conferences can be hosted behind which terrorists are concealed, it is even more disconcerting that members of republican institutions participate," said Carrai.

News that Magni, of the left-wing party Sinistra Italiana, would attend the conference also drew harsh reactions from several Italian politicians. 

"The participation of a newly elected Italian senator in the conference organized by a Palestinian association that denies Israel the right to exist is a very serious thing," said centrist party Action – Italia Viva leader Carlo Calenda, according to Milan Today. 

The Allianz Tower, the Libeskind Tower and the Generali Tower are pictured amidst dense fog and smog in Milan, Italy, January 8, 2020 (credit: REUTERS)The Allianz Tower, the Libeskind Tower and the Generali Tower are pictured amidst dense fog and smog in Milan, Italy, January 8, 2020 (credit: REUTERS)

Mohammad Hanoun, chairman of one of the organizing groups Europeans for Al-Quds, criticized the reaction to the event.

"The controversy never ends," Hanoun told Italian news agency ANSA. "We are Semites, we are not against the Jews but against the occupation in Palestine."

"The participation of a newly elected Italian senator in the conference organized by a Palestinian association that denies Israel the right to exist is a very serious thing."

Carlo Calenda

Conference links to Hamas

Hanoun has been declared by the Israeli Justice Ministry as a Hamas operative. According to La Repubblica, Hanoun has been the subject of legal inquiries for his fundraising for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and his leadership of other charities associated with Hamas.

The other group organizing the conference is the Europe Palestinians Conference, of which Amin Abu Rashid is president, according to the "Al Quds is ours" Facebook page. MK Yuli Edelstein said in 2011 that Abu Rashid was a Hamas member, and according to De Telegraaf he was one of the "brains" behind Gaza-bound flotillas that year.

"I find it disconcerting that in Italy conferences can be hosted behind which terrorists are concealed, it is even more disconcerting that members of republican institutions participate."

Marco Carrai

"Jerusalem is ours"

Hanoun told ANSA that the objective of the conference was to "tell our European communities and politicians that the situation in Jerusalem is unbearable and there is an ongoing process of ethnic cleansing against indigenous Palestinian residents."

A former Italian parliamentarian, Alessandro Di Battista, attended the event. Another notable guest was controversial Israeli academic Ilan Pappe.

In response to the "Al-Quds is ours" conference, Alliance for Israel said on Friday, "we renew the invitation to the new Italian government to soon recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel."

Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the European Union, of which Italy is a member.