GUE/NGL delegation arrives in Palestine - but Israel refuses MEPs entry to Gaza
13 GUE/NGL MEPs are in Palestine this week for a 4-day visit where they will meet members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Knesset, as well as activists from both Palestinian and Israeli human rights and peace organisations.
The Group also planned to visit Gaza but have been thwarted by the Israeli government's refusal to let them enter Gaza, a decision which the MEPs strongly condemn.
GUE/NGL MEP Martina Anderson said: "The Israeli government refused us, 13 MEPs from 6 countries, entry into Gaza on the grounds that our visit to the region is 'not directly concerned with the provision of humanitarian assistance'. This is beyond irony considering that the horrific and harrowing humanitarian situation in Gaza is a direct result of Israel's 53-day military attack on the Gaza Strip, which resulted in 2145 fatalities, including 581 children, not to mention Israel's 8-year blockade of the region.
"We want to go to Gaza to assess the situation on the ground first hand. This would have enabled us to relay that information back to the European Parliament and push for greater provision of EU humanitarian aid to Gaza and an end to the blockade and occupation. We call on the Israeli authorities to overturn this decision and grant us access."
The MEPs begin their visit today in Jerusalem by meeting Israeli organisations including Rabbis for Peace, Breaking the Silence and Combatants for Peace. They will later tour Jerusalem to get a better understanding of the situation there on the ground before meeting Haaretz journalist Amira Hass, world renowned for her reporting on the occupation of Palestine. The delegation will meet Governor of Jerusalem HE. MR. Adnan Alhusseini and other Palestinain dignitaries this evening.
MEPs taking part in the delegation (alphabetical):
Martina Anderson- Sinn Fein, Ireland
Lynn Boylan – Sinn Fein, Ireland
Matt Carthy – Sinn Fein, Ireland
Takin Hadjigeorgiou -AKEL, Cyprus
Pablo Iglesias – PODEMOS, Spain
Iosu Juaristi – Bildu, Basque Country
Marisa Matias – Bloco, Portugal
Younous Omarjee- Front de Gauche, France
Teresa Rodriguez – PODEMOS, Spain
Lola Sanchez – PODEMOS, Spain
Neoklis Silikyotis – AKEL, Cyprus
Angela Vallina – Izquierda Plural, Spain
Miguel Viegas – Portuguese Communist Party
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