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European Parliament president arrives in Israel

Written by The Frontier Post

TEL AVIV (Agencies): Roberta Metsola, president of the European Parliament, landed in Israel on Sunday afternoon for a three-day visit, the first by an EP president since 2014.
Metsola is slated to sp-eak in front of the Knesset on Monday, and to meet with President Isaac Her-zog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and other officials. She will also visit Yad Vashem.
The 43-year-old Maltese politician will also visit Pa-lestinian Authority Presid-ent Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
“President Metsola is expected to bring with her a message of hope, a call to strengthen relations with both Israel and the Palestinians, and to offer the goodwill and resources of the European Parliament to restart the Middle East peace process,” read a statement by the European Union delegation to Israel.
Metsola was met at Ben Gurion Airport by Israel’s envoy to the EU, Haim Regev: EU Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev; and MK Yossi Shain, the head of the Knesset delegation for relations with the European Parliament.
“President Metsola’s vi-sit couldn’t come at a more critical time,” Shain told The Times of Israel, “with everything going on in Uk-raine, increased Iranian ag-gression amidst the nuclear talks in Vienna, and our own security matters with the Palestinians at home.”
“President Metsola represents a new generation of leadership in Europe, that seems to be more inclined to embellish its relations with Israel, and strengthen its ties with key democracies outside the EU,” he continued. “She is part of a generation of young leaders in Europe that see Israel as the solution, and not as the problem.”
Last Thursday, the Fore-ign Ministry informed the EU delegation in Israel that MEP Manu Pineda, a Spa-nish communist politician and chair of the EP Del-egation for Relations with Palestine, would be barred from entering Israel on a separate visit by his delegation. In protest, all memb-ers of the small delegation canceled their visit, which was slated to begin on Monday.
Pineda has been barred from entering Israel since 2020, an Israeli diplomatic official told The Times of Israel, and has met regularly with officials from the P-opular Front for the Li-beration of Palestine, which is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, the EU, and several other We-stern countries. The decision to bar Pineda came directly from Lapid, the official said. Lapid’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Metsola publicly aired her disapproval of Israel’s decision as she landed, tweeting that she “will raise the issue directly with authorities concerned.”
“Respect for MEPs and the European Parliament is essential for good relations,” she continued.

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