Hamas leader to address British MPs by videoconference
By Barak Ravid
Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Meshal is to deliver an unprecedented videoconference address to a closed meeting of British MPs today. The Foreign Ministry is fuming over the event, which is going ahead despite pressure on senior British parliamentarians.
The event was arranged by MP Clare Short, who was ejected from the Labor Party a few years ago by then-prime minister Tony Blair. Short recently led a delegation of British MPs to meet with Meshal in Damascus.
Short extended personal invitations about a week ago to dozens of MPs to attend the videoconference, to be broadcast to a meeting room in the MPs' office building. A large number of MPs are expected to attend. Advertisement The Israeli Embassy in London tried unsuccessfully to get pro-Israel MPs to exert pressure to cancel the event.
Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor said Monday : "If Khaled Meshal would ask to enter the U.K., he would be denied, because the British government knows very well that Hamas is a terror organization. It is therefore a very serious matter when the British Parliament gets around this obstacle and opens its doors to a terror leader by means of a videoconference."
In recent months, particularly after Operation Cast Lead, several MPs have met with Meshal in Damascus and with Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza.
The British government does not meet officially with Hamas, as it is on the European Union's list of terror groups.
U.K.-Israeli relations have been overshadowed recently by closer relations by British politicians and Hamas.
Sourced from Haaretz 21/04/2009
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