Gerry Adams, the leader of Irish nationalist political party Sinn Fein, was denied entry to the Gaza strip by Israel Friday.
Adams, whose party is alleged to have close links to the IRA, was on a three-day tour of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Those wishing to gain entry into Gaza have to pass through Israel's Erez crossing. An unnamed Israeli official told The Irish Times that politicians considered hostile to the country are often refused permission to enter into Gaza.
“Gerry Adams is certainly no friend of Israel. He’s not interested in meeting with anyone from the Israeli government but wants to go to Gaza to hang out with Hamas, ” the official said. “We are trying to calm things down over here and Gerry Adams visiting Gaza would only stir up tension and not contribute to calm.”
Adams, a member of Ireland's Dail, or parliament, said that he was “disappointed,” at Israel's decision, according to the Independent.
He said: “Preventing me from traveling to Gaza and talking to those citizens who have survived three Israeli assaults in the last decade and who are besieged and in need of massive aid to rebuild their shattered economy and society, runs contrary to the needs of a peace process and is very unhelpful.”
Adams' Sinn Fein party are strong supporters of the Palestinian cause, and have organized demonstrations against Israeli military actions in Gaza in the past, according to Irish broadcaster RTE.
Adams said that he had planned to meet with NGOs and visit public institutions in Gaza, while acknowledging that he had planned to meet with Hamas leaders, according to The Guardian.