Gerry Adams barred from entering Gaza Strip

The Sinn Fein leader had planned to meet with Hamas leaders in Gaza

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The Independent Online

Gerry Adams has been barred from entering the Gaza Strip amid fears he could exacerbate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Sinn Fein leader had planned to meet with Hamas leaders in Gaza but has been told by the Israeli authorities that they won’t let him cross the border at the northern end of the Strip. The alternative entry point on the Egyptian border is closed.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahson said the decision to bar Mr Adams was taken because of "his longstanding anti-Israeli positions and his plans to meet in the Strip with leaders of Hamas”.

Another official told the Irish Post: “Gerry Adams is certainly no friend of Israel. He’s not interested in meeting with anyone from the Israeli government but wants to go to Gaza to hang out with Hamas.

“We are trying to calm things down over here and Gerry Adams visiting Gaza would only stir up tension and not contribute to calm.”

 

 

Mr Adams, who previously visited Gaza in 2009, was not surprised by the decision but said he was nevertheless “disappointed”

He said: “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 had intended, in addition to talking with Hamas leaders, to meet with NGOs, and to tour hospitals and other public institutions. He had been invited to Gaza by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

He has already met with senior Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, including President Mahmoud Abbas, during which he was told of the difficulties residents of Gaza have had since the 50-day war fought between Israel and Hamas in the summer. He also met with Yitzhak Herzog, the leader of Israel’s Labour party and the head of the Opposition.

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