Erdan urges Ireland to cancel terrorist's visit

Strategic Affairs Minister writes to Irish Minister of Education, demands scheduled visit by terrorist Leila Khaled be cancelled.

Elad Benari,

Gilad Erdan
Gilad Erdan
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) has written an official letter to the Irish Minister of Education demanding that a scheduled visit by Arab terrorist Leila Khaled be cancelled, Hadashot TV reported on Thursday.

Khaled has been invited for a lecture in Ireland by the Irish Teachers' Association, as was reported earlier on Thursday. The visit is scheduled for next week.

Khaled is a terrorist from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who was involved in a series of airplane hijackings which targeted Israel in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In 1969 she was part of a terrorist cell which hijacked TWA Flight 840 from Rome to Tel Aviv, forcing the plane to land in Syria.

A year later, Khaled participated in the attempted hijacking of El Al Flight 219 from Amsterdam to New York. After the hijacking attempt was foiled. Khaled was arrested, but later released by British authorities following a subsequent hijacking.

In his letter to the Irish Minister, Erdan wrote, according to Hadashot TV, "Ireland and Israel share a history of mutual respect and understanding, especially considering that they both treasure the ideals upon which they were founded: Democracy, freedom and independence. Khaled hijacked two passenger planes and to this day has never expressed remorse for her actions and continues to openly call for the destruction of Israel."

Erdan wrote to the Irish minister that Khaled's invitation can be likened to the invitation of a terrorist who hijacked a passenger plane that took off from Ireland. "To understand the farce behind this act, one can only imagine what would have happened if Israel had invited Laurence James Downey, who hijacked Aer Lingus Flight 164 in 1981.”

"I urge you to cancel Khaled's speech in Ireland and join the large number of countries that have banned terrorists from spreading their criminal messages and ideas," Erdan continued. "I look forward to continuing dialogue on these issues."

"I am puzzled by the fact that Ireland, which has also experienced many terrorist attacks, agrees to venerate in an educational event a terrorist who identifies with terrorist attacks and views them as a legitimate tool. I hope that the Irish government will cancel this theater of the absurd," he concluded.

Khaled set off controversy in September of 2017, when she took part in an event at the European Parliament in Brussels titled “The Role of Women in the Palestinian Popular Resistance.” The event was organized by far-left Spanish MEPs.

The President of the EU Parliament Antonio Tajani later announced that representatives of terrorist organizations or former terrorists would no longer be allowed to participate in events in parliament.

Last November, Italy refused entry to Khaled, who was stopped by Italian border police in Rome after she disembarked a flight from Amman. She was expected in the Italian capital as well as in the southern city of Naples to give talks on the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the PFLP, but was sent back to Amman.

Italy’s Department of Public Security issued a statement insisting that the stopping of Khaled was a purely administrative act, not a political decision.