Italian border police barred Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled from entering Italy, saying she did not have a valid visa.
Khaled, 73, a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or PFLP, took part in terrorist plane hijackings in 1969 and 1970. She was on her way last week to Naples and Rome to speak at events marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the PFLP.
Italian police blocked her entry into the country on November 28 and put her on a plane back to Amman, Jordan. A statement said she had arrived from Jordan “without a valid Schengen visa” – a visa that allows travel without border formalities within much of the European Union – “and was sent back in compliance with national and international Schengen regulations.”
On Wednesday, a group of Khaled’s supporters, carrying banners reading “Free Speech and Movement for Leila Khaled” and “Italy is complicit in Israeli Apartheid” and some with their mouths taped shut, staged a protest at the Naples airport against the decision to bar her.
Khaled recently appeared at events in other Schengen countries, including Belgium.
In September, Khaled gave a speech at a conference at the European Parliament in which she compared Israeli policy in Gaza to the Nazis.
“While the Nazis were tried in Nuremberg, no one has ever tried the Zionists,” she said.
The European Parliament in November endorsed a proposal by its president, Antonio Tajani, “to systematically deny access” to the Parliament “to all persons, groups, or entities involved in terrorist acts” and included on the Parliament’s list of such organisations and individuals.