Israel ban cancels meet
An Israeli policeman checks the bag of a Palestinian woman as Muslim worshipers are headed to al-Aqsa Mosque from Ramallah where a key meeting is canceled. AFP photo
A meeting of Non-Aligned Movement ministers that was set to be held yesterday in the West Bank was
canceled after Israel denied entry to five delegates, officials said. The ministers were to have attended a two-day meeting of the movement’s Palestine Committee in Ramallah at which they were poised to declare their support of a fresh Palestinian bid for upgraded U.N. membership.
The cancellation came shortly after Israel barred ministers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cuba and Algeria from travelling to Ramallah. A senior Israeli official said the ban targeted five countries that have no diplomatic relations with the country.
“A decision has been taken to bar the diplomatic representatives of several countries which do not recognize Israel from crossing the Israeli borders,” a senior Palestinian official told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.
Foreign ministers from the 13 countries belonging to NAM’s Palestine Committee were to have signed the so-called “Ramallah Declaration” in support of a Palestinian bid to upgrade their U.N. status from observer to non-member state.
Speaking to reporters in Ramallah on Aug. 4, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said the statement was “a political declaration that endorses and supports the Palestinian people’s right to have state, condemns settlements and supports the Palestinian bid to obtain non-member status at the U.N.” The request will be put to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 27, he said in a move which comes exactly a year after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tried to obtain full member status. The Palestine Committee comprises ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Cuba, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Senegal, Colombia and India. In response to Palestine’s bid, Israel’s U.N. envoy said they would find majority support there but would not bring them closer to statehood and peace with Israel, Reuters reported.
Ron Prosor said the Palestinians have a “guaranteed majority” in the 193-member General Assembly, enough to bestow non-member observer status, which the envoy predicted would be used “to hurt us [Israel]” in various international forums.