Australian conference guests denied entry into Israel
A former president of the Uniting Church, Rev. Gregor Henderson was among four Australians denied entry into Israel where they were invited to an international conference on Jerusalem in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Rev. Henderson, who is also a public officer of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network was turned away at the Israel and Jordan border. The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network reported that no reason was given by the Israeli officials for the Australians and more than 60 other invited conference guests who were also denied entry into Israel for the conference held on the 11th and 12th April.
Denied conference guests were from different faiths including Muslim, Hindu and Christian and came from countries such as Belgium, Italy, Ghana, Guatemala, Senegal, India, Tanzania, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and Mozambique.
This was the 9th International Conference on the Holy City of Jerusalem and comes after the recent decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Trump also ordered the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, decisions that elicited swift condemnation from United Nations.
Mahmoud Hamad, who was tasked to receive the conference’s guests told Al Jazeera that all guests had Israeli travel permits to enter West Bank.
“Sixty-five internationals flew into Amman airport carrying travel permits from Israeli authorities…these permits were revoked upon their arrival to Allenby border.
“The Israeli border authorities told them all that as participants of the 9th International Conference on Jerusalem, they cannot enter,” said Mr Hamad.
The Israeli Ambassador to Ghana Ami Mehl refuted the reports that the Ghana MP Ras Mubarak was refused entry in a fiery exchange on Ghana’s Starr News live radio broadcast.
“Its bullsh**. It’s propaganda. He is a propaganda machine of the Palestinians. We don’t treat him seriously because he is not a serious person.”
“I was in the middle of a conversation with Israeli authorities about his case and when I was notified he had decided to turn back and go back to his hotel in Jordan,” said Mr Mehl.
In response, the Ghanaian MP, Ras Mubarak in an interview with the Ghana’s Starr News radio reiterated that he was denied entry despite the foreign affairs minister of Israel had issued his travel permit.
“I did not need to go to the Israeli Embassy for a visa because the top officials in Tel Aviv have sorted my entry. My permit was issued by the foreign affairs minister of Israel.
“Aside myself, some other renowned individuals were refused entry. I have every legitimate right as a citizen of the world to point out injustices,” said Mr Mubarak.
The conference in Ramallah still took place with those who could not physically attend, participating in the conference talks via video link.
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