Israel denies entry to Spanish EU MP on diplomatic mission to Palestine for 'BDS support'
Ana Miranda Paz, a Galician Nationalist Bloc member and an affiliate of the Greens and European Free Alliance group, was turned away from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport in the early hours of Tuesday, and subsequently deported to Spain despite being on an official visit.
Paz, who has served as an MEP on three occasions, was due to spend a few days in the occupied Palestinian territories as a member of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Palestine (DPAL), according to the Palestinian WAFA agency.
The MEP was refused entry at the airport as ordered by the Israeli ministry of interior, reported the outlet Politico, though the rest of the delegation was allowed to enter.
A spokesperson for the Israeli Mission to the EU said the reason for Paz’s deportation was that she once tried to "illegally enter" Israel.
This was likely a reference to the MEP's role in the 2015 Freedom Flotilla II attempt to break the harsh Israeli siege on Gaza with the delivery of a cargo of humanitarian aid.
Deeply disappointed at Israel's decision to deny entry to @anamirandapaz, who was due to form part of an official @Europarl_EN mission to West Bank & Gaza.— Roberta Metsola (@EP_President) February 21, 2023
MEP Miranda is now back in Europe. I will be contacting Israel’s authorities to clarify what happened & convey our concern.
In a Facebook post, she said that Israeli border authorities showed her a "total lack of respect" towards her status as an MEP, and told her to "shut up" numerous times as she protested her deportation.
The European Free Alliance (EFA) said that Paz's deportation occurred despite "having official authorisation to travel to Israel from the relevant [Israeli] consul in Brussels".
"It’s a diplomatic conflict [and] it's intolerable that Israel exerts control over members of a delegation that’s going to Palestine, not going to Israel," she told Politico in a statement.
A number of EU parliamentarians criticised Paz's treatment by Israeli authorities. MEP Diana Riba i Giner said Israel’s move was "unacceptable", while Parliament President Roberta Metsola expressed "disappointment" in the decision, saying she will take the necessary steps to "demand answers" from Israeli authorities.