Eldad abandons delegation to EU, says he was silenced

MK Eldad says Knesset delegation leader MK Avital would not let him speak at European assembly where PLO was granted "partner" status.

MK Arye Eldad 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
MK Arye Eldad 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
MK Arye Eldad (National Union) left the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg early on Wednesday, saying that MK Doron Avital (Kadima), head of the Knesset delegation, would not allow him to speak.
Eldad, Avital and MK Rachel Adatto (Kadima) were sent to represent Israel at PACE, where the PLO was granted “Partner for Democracy” status, a move that Eldad vocally opposed.
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“Instead of fighting the Palestinians’ attempt to better its international status in the Council of Europe, Avital supported the move, even when some European parliamentarians opposed accepting them as ‘Partners for Democracy,’” Eldad said.
The National Union MK said that “head delegate” is a symbolic position, and “a delegation leader has never taken advantage of his position in this way before, acting like the power had gone to his head.”
Avital gave himself “the exclusive right to speak before the European Council,” Eldad said.
“When he realized that even his fellow Kadima member, Rachel Adatto, would not align herself with Avital’s opinions, he would not allow other delegation members to speak,” Eldad said.
Once Eldad was given the opportunity to speak, Avital prefaced his words by saying the National MK’s opinions did not represent “the stance of the Knesset.”
“I did not come to Strasbourg to hear harmful words from Arabs and hatred of Israel from some of the European parliamentarians without being allowed to respond,” Eldad said upon his return to Israel.
Avital told The Jerusalem Post: “Eldad had the opportunity to express his opinion before the European Parliament, and used it to say that Jordan is the Palestinian state.
This stance is irresponsible, and not shared with the government of Israel or most members of Knesset.
“If Eldad claims to represent the State of Israel,” Avital continued, “he should at least listen to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Bar- Ilan speech [from June 14, 2009], in which he discusses the future Palestinian state and its borders.”
Avital said that his support for the Palestinians’ upgraded status was accepted as “responsible and mature” by the European Parliament.
While the PLO is now a “Partner for Democracy,” the status will be subject to review biannually, and requires “steps towards democratization and a long list of demands,” he said.
“The democratization of Palestinian society is a clear Israeli interest,” the Kadima MK concluded.
When the Knesset’s winter session begins at the end of the month, Eldad plans to demand that the authority of a Knesset delegation leader be discussed. It was a waste of government money to send two additional MKs to PACE who “served as decorations,” he said.