”On July 10, less than two months after the election of a new European Parliament, a Spanish Member of the European Parliament, Manuel Pineda, a member of the European United Left/Nodic Green Left g group, hosted in the same parliament in Brussels -without any problem- two other senior members of the PFLP, Khaled Barakat and Mohammad al-Khatib, as well as Barakat’s wife, Charlotte Kates, who is international coordinator of Samidoun, a ‘’Palestinian prisoner solidarity network.’’
BRUSSELS—In September 2017, Leila Khaled, a convicted Palestinian terrorist and a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is on the EU terrorist list, addressed a conference in the European Parliament where she justified the use of terrorism.
Khaled took part in plane hijackings in 1969 and 1970.
Her presence in the premises of the European Parliament drew condemnations from Jewish groups and led more than 60 members of the EU assembly to write a letter to then Parliament President Antonio Tajani calling for the EU institutions and officials to establish a ”zero tolerance” stance toward terrorists and extremists, and urging the European Parliament to be an example in this regard.
Tajani responded to the MEPs by stating that ‘’speakers with terrorist backgrounds or links to organisations on the European Union’s list of terrorist groups will not be allowed to speak at the European Parliament.’’
Since then, Tajani has said there has been an endorsement of his proposal “to systematically deny access to all individuals mentioned in the updated [EU terrorist list], as well as to member of organisations lists there.”
“I have reminded the members of the European Parliament as well as Parliament’s General Secretaries that every effort should be made to ensure that no listed person for representatives and entities mentioned in the Council are invited or admitted to Parliament nor promoted through event or audio-visual means,” he said.
Despite Tajani’s endorsed proposal, on July 10, less than two months after the election of a new European Parliament, a Spanish Member of the European Parliament, Manuel Pineda, a member of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left g group, hosted in the same parliament in Brussels -without any problem- two other senior members of the PFLP, Khaled Barakat and Mohammad al-Khatib, as well as Barakat’s wife, Charlotte Kates, who is international coordinator of Samidoun, a ‘’Palestinian prisoner solidarity network.’’ They spoke about their support for the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions), about Israel’s presence in the West Bank and against Germany’s decision to ban Khaled Barakat.
Effectively, last month, Khaled Barakat and Charlotte Kates were barred from attending a Palestinian solidarity event in Berlin by German security forces. The authorities claimed that Barakat’s anti-Semitic speeches posed a threat to public order and could undermine relations between Germany and Israel.
Despite being banned in Germany, the PFLP members were invited to speak in the EU parliament by MEP Manuel Pineda, a Communist activist who is a founding member of the Unadikum Association which fights for Palestinian rights and supports violent resistance. The Spanish politician has connections to both the PFLP and Hamas.
Based on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, adopted by the European Parliament in June 2017, some of Pineda’s published posts could possibly be considered as anti-Semitic.
Asked for a reaction, a spokesperson for the new President of the European Parliament, Italian David Sassoli, told European Jewish Press (EJP) he was unaware of the incident and would investigate and ask for an explanation.
In his first public act as newly elected president, earlier this month, Sassoli decided to pay tribute to all the victims of terrorism in Europe.
“We must pay tribute to the victims in the capital of Europe. We must commemorate the European citizens who were victims of these attacks. This is a tribute to all the victims of terrorism. I wanted to start my time as President with this symbolic act.”, he said.
He added : “We have to unite in our fight against terrorism and we must remain resolute in this fight.”