Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin expressed harsh criticism, Monday, for an international parliamentary organization's scheduled visit to Gaza at the end of January and informed the group that the Knesset will not host the group or allow meetings with individual Knesset members or other diplomatic entities in Israel. Rivlin said, "The Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas, recognized and defined by the Quartet [of Middle East Peace Broker Nations -ed.] and the international community as a terrorist organization." He warned that the visit would not bode well for relations between Israel and the organization.
Among those participating in the visit is Lord Frank Judd, an outspoken critic of Israel. After it visits Gaza, it will visit Israel and Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria (Shomron). The organization said it needed to meet with parliamentarians in both regions of the PA and that no formal meetings with Hamas members were planned, a claim met with skepticism due to ties that its members have with Hamas.