JERUSALEM—Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan has protested the presence of a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization at the European Parliament two weeks ago.
Khaled Barakat, who is a also a member of the pro-BDS NGO “Samidoun”, spoke at the European Parliament at the invitation of Spanish Communist MEP Manu Pineda from the European Left group.
In a letter sent to the new European Parliament President David Sassoli, Erdan called on the Parliament to bar members of terrorist organizations from speaking at the European Union’s assembly.
Joining Barakat was Mohammed Khatib, the European Coordinator for Samidoun. Both Barakat and Khatib were prominently featured in the Ministry of Strategic Affairs recent report “Terrorists in Suits” which revealed the close ties shared between BDS and the terrorist groups Hamas and the PFLP.
Erdan urged President Sassoli to consider condemning the exploitation of the parliament’s platform by terror-linked operatives, and pointed out MEP Pineda has expressed his support in the past for the PFLP and knew about Barakat’s connections to the terrorist group.
This was not the first time an EU-designated terrorist group member spoke at the European Parliament, with the PFLP operative and former airplane hijacker Leila Khaled doing so in 2017.
Following the incident, and after being contacted by Minister Erdan, former President of the EU Parliament Antonio Tajani declared he would work “to systematically deny access to all individuals” linked to terror from speaking at the EU Parliament.
In his letter to President Sassoli, Erdan pressed to “urgently put in place a robust system to ensure that members of designated terrorist organizations such as the PFLP are not allowed to enter the European Parliament in the future. Such unfortunate occurrences must not be allowed to repeat themselves. The European Parliament must never be a platform for terrorists.”
A recently released report by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, “Terrorists in Suits”, revealed over 100 ties were found between terrorist operatives and BDS organizations.
Barakat was included in the report for his roles in recruiting terrorist operatives, transferring terror funds from Lebanon to Belgium, and helping PFLP members receive training from the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah. Barakat also serves as a senior member in the BDS-promoting NGO Samidoun, an organization which calls for the release of Palestinian “political prisoners.’’
As part of the political campaign Minister Erdan led, the findings of Terrorists in Suits were sent to the German Minister of Interior Horst Seehofer with a request to take action against operatives and organizations mentioned in the report. On June 22nd of this year German authorities announced that Barakat’s visa would not be renewed and that all of his political activities in the country were banned.