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Israel summons Belgian envoy over UN invite to activist

Published on February 11, 2020

Israel summoned a top Belgian diplomat on Tuesday over his country’s push to have a civil society activist, seen by the Jewish state as biased, address the UN Security Council.

Belgium, which holds the Security Council’s rotating presidency, has invited Brad Parker of Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), to speak in front of the United Nations’ highest body.

It was the second time this week that Pascal Buffin, number two at the Belgian embassy, had been summoned by Israel’s foreign ministry, Israeli officials said.

DCI-P describes itself as working to protect “the human rights of Palestinian children”.

Israel says the NGO’s board includes individuals affiliated with the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union, the United States and Israel.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said Parker, a senior advisor at DCI-P, is “known for extreme positions against Israel.”

Israel’s ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, Emmanuel Nahshon, wrote on Twitter that the speaking invitation to Parker created “unnecessary tension” that was “easily avoidable.”

The diplomatic spat unfolded ahead of a Security Council session on US President Donald Trump’s controversial Middle East peace plan, which has been rejected by the Palestinians as blatantly pro-Israeli.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told the Council Tuesday that Trump’s plan “cannot achieve peace and security”.

Trump’s plan, staunchly backed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, gives the Israel a green light to annex territory and settlements in the occupied West Bank and would entrench Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s “undivided capital.”