A UN panel meeting on the rights of Palestinians will take place at the premises of the European Parliament later this week, despite protests by Israel and some European Union parliamentarians, who claim the group organizing it has an anti-Israeli record, officials said Monday.
The Aug. 30-31 panel meeting, to be held under the auspices of the UN's Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, will go ahead as scheduled, European Parliament spokesman Fearghas O'Beara said.
Israel views the committee as a legacy of the 1975 UN General Assembly resolution - revoked in 1991 -that equated Zionism with racism. The committee, chaired by Senegal, has 22 members and 26 observers. Cyprus and Malta are the only members who are also EU member states, according to the UN website.
Ran Curiel, the Israeli envoy to the EU, has sent a letter asking EU assembly President Hans-Gert Poettering to stop the conference.
"The president has received the letter and has replied to the Knesset and the Israeli envoy, explaining to them ... the conference is not patronized or supported by the European Parliament, which will only provide the space," O'Beara said.
Israel is disappointed by the EU decision, but will not take any other action to have the meeting called off, said Sagi Karni, spokesman for the Israeli mission to the EU.
"But we don't think this gathering is contributing to the peace process or reconciliation in the Middle East, quite to the contrary," he said.
Meanwhile, some parliamentarians are still trying to block the conference. Polish conservative lawmaker Boguslaw Sonik, one of several Poles boycotting the conference, has complained to Poettering that it violates the parliament's moral standards.