SHAFAQNA – Irish nationalist leader Gerry Adams said Friday that Israel barred him from making a planned visit to the Gaza Strip during a three-day tour of the region. Adams says he was not given a reason for the Israeli decision preventing the trip.
“I am not surprised by the decision but I am disappointed by it,” he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahson said that in consultation with defense officials the ministry decided to bar Adams from entering Gaza because of “his longstanding anti-Israeli positions and his plans to meet in the strip with leaders of Hamas.”
Nahson said that if Adams wanted to visit Gaza he could enter the territory from Egypt.
Israel fought a bloody 50-day war over the summer with the Hamas militant group, and sees it as a terrorist organization.
Adams’ Sinn Fein Party has long taken a pro-Palestinian position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Earlier in his trip to the region, Adams met with Issac Herzog, leader of Israel’s opposition Labor Party, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Adams said that while in Gaza, he had intended on meeting with NGOs, and visiting hospitals and other public institutions. He also acknowledged that he planned on meeting with Hamas leaders during his visit.