Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has said he is “proud to represent the Knesset and the State of Israel, including as a settler of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank],” ahead of a controversial visit to Westminster on Wednesday.
The Likud politician will address Members of Parliament on Wednesday “in defiance of the protesters”, as he put it in a Facebook post on Tuesday. His appearance at a joint session of peers and MPs will be the first-ever official visit by an Israeli Knesset speaker.
On Monday, Edelstein told the Israeli media that “it’s just not doable to leave Britain as hostages of BDS and all these small and vocal groups.”
Edelstein will meet with the British Foreign Minister and shadow Foreign Minister during his visit, and promises to use his time with Prime Minister David Cameron to “discuss the issues of the Palestinians, antisemitism and xenophobia.”
In a press release Tuesday, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign condemned the invitation extended to Edelstein to address the House of Commons and the House of Lords, describing it as “inappropriate and unseemly for an illegal settler to be given the freedom to address the British Parliament.”
Edelstein, as well as owning a home in the illegal settlement of Neve Daniel, is a keen supporter of the settlement enterprise more generally, an opponent of Palestinian statehood, disputes that the West Bank is even occupied, and is close to right-wing extremists.