Linda Sobeh Ali, charge d'affaires of the Palestinian General Delegation in Canada, has agreed to government request that she leave Ottawa after linking to a video calling for Israel's destruction on her Twitter feed.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reported Tuesday that earlier this month, Sobeh Ali posted the link on Twitter, telling her followers to "check this video out." In the video, a Palestinian girl is shown crying, shouting and reciting in Arabic a poem entitled "I am Palestinian." English subtitles were said to include language calling millions of people "to a war that raze (sic) the injustice and oppression and destroy the Jews."
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird instructed his deputy to call Sobeh Ali in to complain. The Canadian government lodged a protest with President Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority, which agreed to call her home Tuesday.
In an interview with CTV, Sobeh Ali said she sent the tweet from her Blackberry and had not seen the video.
Meanwhile, a University of Ottawa professor says the video's English subtitles are not accurate and the offending passage did not call for a war to "destroy the Jews." Rather, said Salah Basalamah, the poem cited by the girl included a call to "kill the soul of Zionism."
Posting the video was enough for Sobeh Ali to leave her post in Canada. It turns out Husam Ayloush, head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Los Angeles office, posted the same video in 2009.
Sobeh Ali is not the first PA representative in North American to run into trouble in recent weeks. Last month, Maen Areikat, the Palestine Liberation Organization's ambassador to Washington, said Jews would not be welcome in a Palestinian state.
Areikat later said that his remarks had been taken out of context. The Huffington Post later published the full quote, making clear that the PLO envoy said the two peoples should be totally separated:
"I personally still believe that as a first step we need to be totally separated, and we can contemplate these issues in the future. But after the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction I think it would be in the best interests of the two peoples to be separated at first."