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MEP barred from Israel wants EU to hit back with reciprocal measures, unless it reverses course

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By Aida Sanchez Alonso
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Masked Palestinians carry Palestinian & Hamas flags during Eid al-Fitr celebrations next to Dome of Rock Mosque in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Old City of Jerusalem, May 2 2022
Masked Palestinians carry Palestinian & Hamas flags during Eid al-Fitr celebrations next to Dome of Rock Mosque in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Old City of Jerusalem, May 2 2022   -   Copyright  Mahmoud Illean/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

A European parliamentarian who was forbidden entry into Israel on Sunday wants the EU to impose reciprocal measures if Jerusalem does not reverse its decision.

Manu Pineda was supposed to lead a group of six MEPs to the West Bank this week as president of the Delegation for relations with Palestine in the European Parliament, but the trip was cancelled following Israel's decision to bar his entry.

He now wants Brussels to apply some pressure: "For the time being, I hope that this will be resolved through diplomatic channels, through negotiation, and that the European Union has sufficient mechanisms to put pressure on Israel to make it act in a civilised manner," the Spanish Left MEP told Euronews.

"The European Union has a preferential partnership agreement with Israel. It allows Israel to participate in programmes financed by the European Union, such as the design programme, the Horizon Plus programme.

"In other words, today they have sufficient mechanisms to be able to put pressure on them. Another thing is the political will, whether or not there is a fear of upsetting a partner. But I think it is time not to let this pass."

Pineda added that his barring was due to the fact that he asked the EU Parliament to debate the death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during an Israeli army raid.

"I interpret it as an implicit sanction, not against me, but against the Parliament for taking a stand against the murder of this journalist," Pineda said. "This is my interpretation. This Parliament has been disrespected here. This is an outrage against this Parliament. 

"I did not go there as Manu Pineda. I did not go there as the MEP for The Left or Izquierda Unida. I was there as the chairman of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with Palestine."

Roberta Metsola, the president of the European Parliament, was coincidentally visiting Israel, and says she discussed the issue with the Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid.

She also paid a visit to the country's parliament, the Knesset, where she insisted on the idea of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, which was met with heckles from within the chamber.

"I know there are those who don't agree. And I know there are been multiple false starts to this process. I know that not everyone sees peace as a goal. And I know how hard it must be to tell a mother whose child has been killed that peace is the answer. And there are too many such mothers. Far too many," Metsola said.

Brussels has always supported the idea of a two-state solution as the only way for peace in the Middle East on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.