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Danish parliament leader to skip Israel on visit to Gaza and Ramallah

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(JTA) — The speaker for the Danish parliament is set to visit the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but will not meet with Israeli officials on his trip.

The website for Israel’s Channel 10 reported Thursday night that Mogens Lykketoft, who is scheduled to visit Ramallah and Gaza during the weekend, will not meet with Israelis.

According to the report, the Danish speaker asked two months ago to meet his Israeli counterpart, Yuli Edelstein, but the Israeli lawmaker replied he would not be able to meet Lykketoft because of prior engagements. Lykketoft proceeded to plan the visit without including any meetings in Israel.

Edelstein said that he viewed Lykketoft’s actions as “very serious,” adding: “I fail to see how visiting Gaza, which is under Hamas’ control, is compatible with Denmark’s commitment to democratic values.”

In an interview last month for the Jydske Vestkysten daily, Lykketoft, who is a member of Denmark’s Social Democrats party, called Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli prime minister who had just died, “a brutal military leader who was not interested in reaching an agreement with the Palestinians.”

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