The European Parliament unanimously endorsed a proposal Wednesday to deny access to people, groups, or entities involved in terrorist acts.
The motion, tabled by EP President Antonio Tajani, followed a complaint drafted by Israel’s Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan and backed by 58 members of the European Parliament after Leila Khaled, a convicted terrorist who continues to advocate for the murder of Israeli civilians, visited the parliament last September to speak at a conference on The Role of Women in the Palestinian Popular Struggle.
Khaled is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which has been listed as a terror group by the European Parliament, European Union, the United Nations and other international forums,
In that speech, Khaled – who hijacked a civilian American airplane in 1969 and forced it to land in Damascus, Syria, handing two Israeli civilians to Syrian authorities, who were held in custody there for three months before being traded for Syrian prisoners-of-war in Israeli jails – justified the comparison of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazi Party, denied Jews’ right to self-determination and the use of symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis.
A year after that hijacking, she was arrested by Israeli sky marshals in possession of hand grenades while trying to board an El Al flight from Amsterdam to Tel Aviv.
The European Parliament’s Bureau said in a statement that the group unanimously endorsed the President’s proposal to “systematically deny access to all persons, groups, or entities involved in terrorist acts”, and added that members of the European Parliament and Political Groups are requested not to invite persons listed in the Council Decision or individuals representing entities or groups on that list, nor to facilitate their access to Parliament.
“In addition, these persons, entities, and groups may not be promoted through audio-visual presentations or other events on Parliament’s premises,” the statement said.
Anders Vistisern, a vice chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament and a lawmaker from Denmark, who was one of the 58 MEPs who signed the letter of complaint after Khaled’s visit, thanked President Tajani on Twitter. “Thanks and congratulations to European Parliament President for his resolute stance against terror!”
“Pleased to see that concerns of myself and 57 other MEPs on the presence of terrorist Leila Khaled in the EP were addressed,” he tweeted.
Gilad Erdan also thanked Tajani, saying the president had repaired the Parliament’s “disgraceful” decision to host Khaled and saying the new resolution would go a long way towards atoning for her visit.
“A decision that will begin slightly to remove the disgrace from the European Parliament that provides a platform for the terrorist. Thank you to the President of Parliament,” Erdan wrote on Twitter.