Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon explained Saturday evening that he had decided to block Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajoub's entry to Israel before the Meretz party invited him to its conference.
Meretz head Zehava Galon said that the defense ministry's refusal to allow Rajoub into the country in order to take part in the conference smacked of politicking. She noted that Rajoub had recently been allowed to speak before the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).
The defense minister made it clear that this was not the case, in a Facebook status message he published Saturday evening.
"I decided to prevent Jibril Rajoub from entering the state of Israel, because despite the fact that in the Israeli press, he sometimes appears like an almost likeable character – in actual fact, this is a person who has been inciting in a very serious manner against the state of Israel and its citizens lately; attacking the prime minister with harsh words that cannot be repeated; and acting to delegitimize Israel in sports institutions.
"I cannot accept a situation in which a person spreads words of demonization and hatred against us, like the worst of inciters, and at the same time asks to enter the state of Israel as if nothing happened. You can't grasp the stick at both ends.
"I decided to do this in a sweeping manner, immediately after Rajoub's appearance at the INSS in Tel Aviv, and before the request from Meretz to allow him to speak at its conference.”