JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel barred entrance to a member of Spain’s ruling party who is of Palestinian descent, labeling him a security threat.
Fouad Ahmad Assadi, who was born in Lebanon and is the son of Palestinian refugees, arrived in Israel to attend the Socialist International annual conference, taking place in Tel Aviv and Ramallah in the West Bank. He was supposed to lead the Spanish delegation.
The Socialist International represents social democratic political parties from around the world.
Assadi was stopped and questioned at Ben Gurion International Airport by the Israel Security Agency on Sunday. He was barred from entering Israel and returned to Spain,
He told the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz that he has lived in Spain for 40 years, and has visited Israel several times in the past. He said a recent visit to Syria to see family members and to conduct business may have raised a red flag.
The Israel Security Agency told Haaretz that this is not the first time Assadi has been prevented from entering Israel for security reasons, but did not give a reason for barring him.
“I believe in peace and I wanted to participate in this conference because I support a two-state solution,” Assadi told Haaretz. “I wanted to represent our party but after what I saw in Israel how we can make peace. Nobody there wants to, apparently.”