Israeli Delegation Bolts Lawmaker Conference Attended by Hamas Reps

Despite presence by Hamas deputies, Minister Silvan Shalom delivered speech at parliamentarian meet.

An Israeli delegation of lawmakers left a conference gathering of parliamentarians in Ethiopia which was attended by Hamas representatives.

The three-man delegation included Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom (Likud), MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima), and Knesset secretary Eyal Yanon.

After they were notified that the gathering, which took place under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, included Hamas deputies, the group mulled pulling out of the meet immediately.

They were later convinced that Shalom should deliver his speech before leaving.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced that he gave full backing to the delegation's decision to leave the conference since Hamas' participation was a violation of previously reached understandings according to which there would be no representatives of a terrorist organization at the meeting.

"This is a very dangerous precedent set which could be taken advantage of by other terror organizations that espouse the destruction of Israel, and will try to exploit this international stage to shake Israel's standing," Rivlin said. "An immediate and strident protest is warranted."