Knesset may leave int’l group for including Hamas

Speaker Reuven Rivlin considers withdrawing Knesset from Inter-Parliamentary Union for inviting Hamas to meeting.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin 311 (photo credit: Courtesy: Knesset Channel)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin 311
(photo credit: Courtesy: Knesset Channel)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin is considering withdrawing the Knesset from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, after the organization invited senior Hamas officials to participate in a meeting on human rights in Geneva.
Rivlin expressed “severe disappointment” in a letter sent to IPU Secretary-General Anders B. Johnsson on Monday.
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The Knesset speaker explained that the Hamas officials represent a group that was declared a terrorist organization by the European Union and the Quartet, and appealed for the expulsion of the Knesset from the IPU. He added that Hamas has called for Israel’s destruction and shoots missiles and rockets at civilians.
“It feels to me as though all order and logic of this world has been turned upside down,” Rivlin wrote, pointing out that Johnsson promised that Hamas would not be allowed to participate in the IPU, during a visit to Israel in December.
Rivlin told the Knesset Presidency, a forum made up of his deputies, that Israel is an active member of the IPU and pays annual dues amounting to NIS 350,000.
Breaking a clear commitment not to give Hamas a platform in the IPU requires clarifications, and the Knesset will consider its future in the organization, he added.
“We won’t pay for tickets in a theater where we play the part of the victim,” Rivlin said. “This is incitement against the existence of the State of Israel.”
In a meeting between Rivlin and Johnsson in December, the IPU secretary-general said he will make sure that official PA delegations do not include Hamas members.