TEL AVIV, Dec 8 — Israel has barred 22 Palestinians from attending a Tel Aviv photo exhibition to mark 50 years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank, an Israeli rights group said yesterday.
B’Tselem, which organised the event with the support of the EU, said some of those barred were photographers and others were subjects of the portraits on display.
The portraits are of 50 Palestinians born in 1967, the year that Israel seized the West Bank.
The event was organised to mark International Human Rights Day.
The EU ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, attended a reception yesterday for the exhibition, despite Israeli protests, B’Tselem said.
On Monday, Israel bluntly criticised the European Union over Giaufret’s plan to participate.
“For reasons unknown, the EU people believe that the way to Israelis’ hearts is by spitting in their faces,” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
“We are again seeing the same patronising approach of preaching hypocritical, condescending morality that just pushes away rather than bringing closer. It is sad and superfluous.”
The tensions come ahead of a planned visit next week by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Brussels for talks with EU foreign ministers.
In April, Netanyahu cancelled talks with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel after the visiting diplomat declined to call off meetings with rights groups — including B’Tselem — critical of his government.
Israel’s right-wing government accuses groups such as B’Tselem of unfairly tarnishing the country’s image for political reasons, charges they firmly deny. — AFP