Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was denied entry into Gaza by Israeli authorities this morning during a three-day trip to Israel and Palestine.
While in the region Adams had met with Israeli Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Adams, who has longstanding anti-Israel, pro-Palestine positions, said the Israeli government’s decision is “deeply disappointing” though he is unsurprised.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahson said Adams was barred mainly because of his confirmed plans to meet with the leaders of terrorist organization Hamas, as he did in 2009.
Just been told my Visit 2 Gaza has been blocked by Israeli Govt. No reason given. A small example of bad policy. Siege of Gaza is illegal.— Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) December 5, 2014
Nahson said that if Adams wanted to visit Gaza he could do so from Egypt.
“My purpose on this visit has been to listen. Primarily I am here to learn,” said Adams. “When asked I have also outlined the broad strategic approach Sinn Féin took to the Irish Peace Process.” Adams said that in addition to meeting with NGOs, he had plans to visit hospitals and other public institutions in Gaza.
“Central to our success has been the imperative of dialogue. But it also required participants to take risks for peace and to be prepared to try and understand other points of view.
“Preventing me from travelling to Gaza and talking to those citizens who have survived three Israeli assaults in the last decade, and who are besieged and in need of massive aid to rebuild their shattered economy and society, runs contrary to the needs of a peace process and is very unhelpful,” he said.
@ Separation Wall. No Entry 2 Gaza. pic.twitter.com/fYXkt05P4f— Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) December 5, 2014
Adams said he has raised the issue of recognizing Palestine as a state with Enda Kenny in the Dáil this week, and will continue to do so.