World Bulletin / News Desk
A meeting of envoys from the Non-Aligned Movement due to convene in the Israeli-occupied West Bank was scrapped on Sunday after four envoys were denied entry by Israel, Palestinian officials said.
They said other guests, including the foreign ministers of Egypt and Zimbabwe, declined to attend in solidarity with those prevented from taking part.
Israel, which controls access to the occupied West Bank, barred the foreign ministers of Malaysia and Indonesia along with ambassadors from Cuba and Bangladesh on the grounds that the four countries do not recognize the Jewish state.
"We have cleared entry for representatives of countries which have diplomatic relations with Israel and we have not cleared those which do not," Yigal Palmor, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, told Reuters.
The Non-Aligned Movement, founded during the Cold War to advocate the causes of the developing world, was to convene an unprecedented, high-level meeting in the West Bank in solidarity with the Palestinian leadership, in advance of an annual meeting in Iran at the end of the month.
PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said Israel's denial of entry to the envoys was "a blatant and crude exercise of power and a form of political siege."
"Israel's treatment of Palestine as an internal issue and its attempts to isolate the Palestinian people from the rest of the world further emphasize why we need to achieve state status at the United Nations as a step towards our exercise of self-determination and freedom," she said in a statement.
She added: "We applaud the position of solidarity adopted by representatives of the other Non-Aligned Movement countries in response to Israel’s arrogant refusal to allow international diplomats from having access to Palestine."
Palestinian officials had hoped entrance into U.N. agencies and attendance of international gatherings in the capacity of a state would improve their standing internationally and undermine Israel's 45-year occupation of the West Bank.Last Mod: 05 Ağustos 2012, 18:37