No more access to the European Parliament for terrorists like Leila Khaled

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani gestures as he addresses a press conference with the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator after Britain initiated the process to leave the EU at the European Parliament in Brussels on March 29, 2017. Britain launched the process to leave the European Union on March 29, saying there was "no turning back" from the historic move that has split the country and thrown the bloc's future into question. / AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

BRUSSELS—The European parliament has endorsed a proposal of its president, Antonio Tajani, to systematically deny access to all persons, groups, or entities involved in terrorist acts.

The decision followed a complaint by several MEPs and pro-Israel groups after Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was invited last September to speak in the European Parliament at a conference hosted by two Spanish far-left MEPs. She used that platform to praise extremist violence and demonize Jews.  She glorified terrorism and trivialized the Holocaust.  "Don’t you see a similarity between Nazi actions and Zionist actions in Gaza?," she declared. "While the Nazis were tried in Nuremberg, no one has ever tried the Zionists," she said.

‘’The European Parliament’s Bureau unanimously endorsed the President’s proposal to systematically deny access to all persons, groups, or entities involved in terrorist acts, as listed in the annexed Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1426,’’  the parliament's Directorate General fo Security and Safety said in an information notice. 

‘’In view of that decision, and in the context of combatting terrorism, 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.’’

‘’I am happy that we have eventually established what should have been obvious before!,“ commented Czech MEP Tomas Zdechovský (European People's Party, EPP), who co-signed the letter to Tajani. 

''The Council may adopt some amendments now, so we can be sure the situation with Leila Khaled will not happen again,“ Zdechovsky added.

Two other MEPs, Danish Anders Vistisen and Dutch Bastiaan Belder, from the European Conservative and Reformist group (ECR),  who initiated the complaint letter to President Tajani welcomed the European Parliament's Bureau decision and thanked the President ‘’for taking a strong resolute stand  against terrorism.’’ ‘’Please to see that our concerns and that of 57 other MEPs on the presence of terrorist Leila Khaled in the EP were addressed,’’ they tweeted.

But the two MEPs in a statement issued on Wednesday urged the President and the Parliament's Bureau ''to investigate if any irregularities have taken place'' during the event with Leila Khlaerd organised by the European Left group on 26 September, and ''where appropriate, take necessary action, including holding those responsible accountable.''

''At the time when Europe is experiencing the agonising truth of terrorist attacks on its soli, it is our responsibility and duty to take a strong united stand against terrorism and its incitement,'' the statement added.   

Israel's Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan also thanked President 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.

Leila Khaled was involved in the hijacking of an American airplane in 1969 and a failed hijacking attempt on an El Al flight the following year. Israeli security forces foiled the second attempt and subdued Khaled. The flight was diverted to London, where Khaled was then handed over to British authorities. They released her less than a month later in a deal to free hostages from another hijacking.

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