Israeli Peace Parliament Holds First “Public Conference”– Ejects Media
The newly formed “Israeli Peace Parliament” held its first public conference today in Tel Aviv, a public conference that the media was invited to and then ordered to leave.
The event was stopped about ten minutes into opening remarks and the media told to leave by orders of the Palestinian delegation in attendance. Journalists were told they would be allowed to return about two hours later after the event concluded for a photo opportunity.
The so-called public conference was held in a building known as, ironically enough, the Journalists House, once home to the Israel Journalists Association.
When questioning why the media was invited to the event and then barred from it, The Media Line crew was approached by a person claiming to be an “organizer” of the event who refused to provide identification, instead threatening to break a reporter’s phone and photographer’s camera. The incident was recorded on video.
One Palestinian representative attending the event, who asked not to be identified when asked why the media was ordered to leave, told The Media Line, “I don’t know, it doesn’t make sense, something must be wrong”.
A press release from the Israeli Peace Parliament says the “Parliament is a public, unaffiliated forum whose members are the former representatives of a variety of political parties and movements, specifically former members of the Knesset and former Ministers.
“They propose to the two people to act publicly so as to achieve an agreed upon settlement between the two people and reconciliation between our communities,” the press release continues, adding that the Parliament will “endeavor to influence public opinion, and will be a strong and determined voice during times of crisis, confrontation or violence.”
Colette Avital, a former Knesset member and organizer of the Israeli Peace Parliament event, apologized to The Media Line for the altercation, saying it appears that a bodyguard for a member of the Palestinian delegation misrepresented himself.
She explained that a large and unexpected Palestinian contingent attended the event that “were not interested in having any media or press coverage and we did not know that.”
She said the conversation was productive, with both Israelis and Palestinians agreeing that continued dialogue was needed and that both sides need to work together to solve the very complicated questions about coming to terms of peace.