Outrage Over Danish Parliamentarian’s Decision to Visit Ramallah and Gaza – but Not Israel
by Gidon Ben-Zvi
A decision by the Speaker of the Danish parliament, Mogens Lykketoft, to visit Ramallah and perhaps even Gaza this weekend, but not Israel, has led to a strongly worded condemnation by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Thursday.
“This is very serious. I do not understand how a visit to Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, goes along with Denmark’s democratic values,” Edelstein told Channel 10.
The diplomatic fracas began a couple of months ago when Lykketoft announced dates for a visit to the region, Channel 10 said.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry then told Lykketoft that his Israeli counterpart would be unable to meet him on the dates specified. While the Foreign Ministry then proposed alternative dates for the Danish Speaker’s visit, Jerusalem never received a response, Channel 10 reported.
At some point, the Danish Embassy did try to hastily organize a meeting between the Danish Speaker and Israeli government officials. However, Israel’s Foreign Ministry rebuffed any offer that didn’t involve a meeting between Lykketoft and Edelstein, Channel 10 said.
The Foreign Ministry reacted angrily to the decision of the Danish Speaker, saying, “It appears that the Danish Speaker finds it more important to please his constituency in Denmark that supports the Palestinians, while snubbing Israel.”
While visiting Gaza, Lykketoft does not intend to meet with representatives of the ruling Hamas terrorist organization, Channel 10 said. Rather, he will seek to meet with various members of the international community.
Jerusalem however will have the last word on Lykketoft’s controversial visit to the region since the Danish Speaker’s Gaza stayover requires Israel’s approval.
Israeli officials told Channel 10 that, “Due to his conduct, we have no intention of letting him enter Gaza.”