4 September 2014
Israel bars 13 MEPs from visiting Gaza
ISRAEL has barred 13 European Parliament MPs from visiting Gaza during a four-day fact-finding visit to Palestine and Israel that started on Thursday.
The MEPs, from the GUE/NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left) group and including three Sinn Féin MEPs, will meet members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), as well as activists from both Palestinian and Israeli human rights and peace organisations.
The Sinn Féin MEPs are Martina Anderson, Matt Carthy and Lynn Boylan.
The MEPs have strongly condemned the Israeli Government’s refusal to let them see at first-hand the needs of the people of Gaza following the devastating blitz Israel inflicted on the tiny, impoverished and largely defenceless territory.
GUE/NGL and Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said:
“The Israeli Government refused us 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 2,145 fatalities, including 581 children, not to mention Israel’s eight-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 (alphabetically):-
Martina Anderson- Sinn Féin, Ireland
Lynn Boylan – Sinn Féin, Ireland
Matt Carthy – Sinn Féin, 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 – Communist Party, Portugal
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