Several members of the Non-Aligned Movement condemned Israel late Sunday in the wake of a decision by Jerusalem to bar a number of foreign ministers from a meeting in support of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.
Indonesia, which hosts the group, and the other 12 members of the NAM’s special committee for Palestinian rights harshly slammed the move, which they said was unfounded.
“Israel’s argument that some participating countries have no diplomatic ties so that it did not allow the participant to enter Ramallah is weak because it is known that the conference is going to be held in Palestine, not in Israel,” the group said in a statement.
The foreign ministers had been traveling to a meeting intended to show support for the Palestinian Authority’s upcoming statehood bid at the United Nations. The Non-Aligned Movement is made up of 120 countries, mostly from Africa, Asia and South America, which were not directly allied with either Washington or Moscow during the Cold War.
Malaysia’s government also condemned the ban, which it said “violates international principles of law and Israel’s obligation as the power occupying Palestine.”
On Sunday, Israel decided not to permit entry by officials from countries with which it does not have diplomatic relations. The foreign ministers of Cuba, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Algeria, who were planning to cross from Jordan with their delegations, were thus barred from entering the country to attend the meet, a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Jerusalem said.
NAM members with which Israel does have relations were cleared to enter the country, the ministry said. These include Egypt, India, Columbia, South Africa, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The meeting was called off after the ministers were denied entry, the Malaysian news agency Bernama reported.
The NAM will hold a major assembly in Tehran later this month. Israel has urged countries to not attend, in a bid to isolate Iran, Israeli daily Maariv reported last week.
Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.