MK Sharren Haskel attends the Inter-Parliamentary Union in St. Petersburg, Russia (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Sharren Haskel

Arab and Muslim countries utilized yet another international forum to launch their onslaught on Israel.

The Knesset delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) 137th Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia walked out of Wednesday’s plenary session after the organization approved a series of anti-Israel proposals.

Among the proposals approved were calls for the release of convicted Palestinian murderers and terror leaders Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa’adat, and a rebuke of Israel for holding members of the Palestinian National Council representing Hamas in administrative detention.

The Knesset delegation included Members of Knesset Nachman Shai, Sharren Haskel, Yoseph Yonah, Haim Jelin and Knesset Secretary Yardena Meller-Horowitz.

Shai, who headed the delegation, said during the meeting “I naively thought the organization, like the entire world, is united in combating terror, since terror endangers every country everywhere and at all times. You want to release convicted murderers from prison? I thought you want to fight terror and not assist it, but reality is different.”

Shai added that Israel is committed to promoting peace with its neighbors, including the Palestinians. However, he stressed that “it will in no way come at the expense of a relentless fight against terror.”

After a number of delegations, including those from Syria, Pakistan, Jordan, Kuwait, and the Palestinian Authority, spoke against Israel, Haskel replied: ”I think this is a bad joke. Countries like Syria and Iran are hypocritical. They `teach` Israel what morality is and what human rights are. This organization is supposed to support and strengthen democracy, but in the Palestinian Authority elections have not taken place for over 10 years and anyone under the age of 29 has never voted. What kind of elected representatives are these?”

Representatives from countries hostile to Israel heckled her. Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim shouted at the Israeli lawmakers that they were “child killers” and to “get out of the hall.”

After the meeting, the Israeli delegation relayed its objection to outgoing IPU President Saber Chowdhury of Bangladesh, saying that he had seriously damaged the neutral position of the organization by permitting Arab states to constantly lambaste and interrupt the Israeli speakers, and that he himself had not allotted the Knesset delegation the same amount of time given to the other delegations.

MK Ksenia Svetlova said Thursday she was proud of the MKs for “defending the country’s honor” by leaving the hall, the Times of Israel reported.

“I would expect the organizers of the event to calm things down and not stand at the side in light of the verbal abuse and it is regrettable that they didn’t do so,” she said. “Sometimes it is not easy to represent Israel abroad, but despite this we must do it on every available platform. Our presence in the international arena and international organizations is extremely important.”

By: United with Israel Staff