Mashaal to Address British MPs by Video

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LONDON - Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will speak to a closed meeting of British parliamentarians via videoconferencing.

MP (member of parliament) Clare Short, who recently led a delegation of MPs to meet with Mashaal in Damascus, organized the meeting.

According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Short received a good response from the dozens of MPs invited to hear Mashaal's address.

Efforts by the Israeli Embassy in London to lobby pro-Israeli parliamentarians to speak out against the meeting proved fruitless, Israeli Ambassador to the UK Ron Proser said on Monday.

"If Khaled Mashaal would ask to enter the U.K., he would be denied because the British government knows very well that Hamas is a terror organization," Proser said.

"It is therefore a very serious matter when the British Parliament gets around this obstacle and opens its doors to a terror leader by means of a videoconference," he said.

Calls by British lawmakers to establish diplomatic relations with Hamas have been on the increase, despite the fact that the European Union labels it a terror group.

In March MP George Galloway traveled to the Gaza Strip to meet with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh.

Galloway brought gifts to Haniyeh, including 100 vehicles, three of which were reportedly his, and some $35,000 in cash.

Sources: Haaretz, The Associated Press

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