Gaza – Infopal. La delegazione parlamentare internazionale che sabato scorso è giunta a Gaza a bordo di Dignity, del Free Gaza movement, ha reso noto che "lavorerà per informare colleghi parlamentari e governanti in Europa sull’entità della tragedia e della crisi umanitaria nella Stiscia".
La delegazione, che comprendeva 11 parlamentari di vari paesi europei, ha lasciato Gaza lunedì 10, dopo una visita durata tre giorni.
La missione internazionale è stata organizzata dal Free Gaza mov. e dall’European campaign to lift the siege.
Al ritorno a Londra, il capo della delegazione, Lord Nazir Ahmed, ha espresso il proprio shock per ciò che ha visto a Gaza e ha condannato l’ostinazione delle autorità egiziane nel tenere chiuso il valico di Rafah.
La parlamentare Clare Short ha dichiarato che, a dispetto delle tragiche condizioni umanitarie, la delegazione parlamentare ha ricevuto una calda accoglienza dai cittadini di Gaza che hanno mostrato "grande determinazione nel conservare le conquiste democratiche".
Arafat Madi, presidente dell’European campaign, membro della spedizione, ha sottolineato che "non sarà l’ultima visita" e che le prossime navi porteranno più medicine e forniture mediche.
Brief of the visit
Chair The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza
++44 (2) 8453 0919 ++44 (0)7908 200 559
100A Crown House
North Circular Road
London NW10 7PN
I am pleased to inform you that our European parliamentary delegation concluded their three day visit to the Gaza Strip and returned safely on 11th November. We regret the unpatriotic decision taken by Egyptian government to refuse passage through the Rafah Crossing. I am taking this opportunity to forward this preliminary report on the visit and hopefully with the coming 3-4 weeks the full report will be finished.
During their three-day stay in Gaza the delegates conducted a number of visits to schools, hospitals and refugee camps in the besieged Palestinian territory. The party was extremely moved by the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in the territory. We acquired substantial evidence of the destruction of the infra-structure and the dangerous consequences it has had on the economic and health facilities in the territory.
One of the highlights the visit was our meetings with officials from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). They conveyed their deepest fears about their ability to continue providing vital health and relief services to the eight refugee camps in the territory. Israel’s long-term economic blockade on the Gaza Strip has had a crippling effect on the functioning of the UN agency to the extent that the UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness said, "This has become a blockade against the United Nations itself," citing a long list of supplies, including food, which they have been unable to deliver.
The following is a summary of the visit:
- The delegation visited the Palestinian parliament and expressed solidarity with the parliamentarians who are incarcerated in Israel jails. The delegation called for their immediate release.
- Recognizing the importance of hearing the views of all sections of Gaza’s society the delegation visited the prime minister. They were briefed on a number of issues namely the internal conflict, the cessation of hostilities with Israel, their vision of a solution and peace with Israel, the issue of the rockets and the impact of the siege on the inhabitants of Gaza.
- A meeting was held with the Commissioner-General of UNRWA Mrs Karen Abu Zayd and other senior officials in the agency. Mr. John Ging, director of operations in Gaza for the UN Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA) briefed the delegation on their work and the difficulties they currently encounter in providing services to the people of the territory. He pointed out the need for urgent action to rescue the situation from further decline.
- The delegation visited UNRWA educational centre, Al-Shati Refugee Camp school. They heard reports about the negative impact the siege was having on the educational sector particularly the inability of students to study and access adequate material.
- The delegation visited some small projects operated by UNRWA for farmers and witnessed the assistance the agency was offering farmers to market their produce. The ongoing siege has drastically curtailed the ability of farmers to market their produce. Apart from the chronic shortage of farming resources the sector is also subjected to regular attacks by the Israeli army.
- A visit was also conducted to several health sector facilities and hospitals. The delegation assessed the shortage of medicine and medical equipment and the impact this has had on the health of the inhabitants of the territory. The territory experiences an acute shortage of the most basic medicines and equipment.
- The delegation held a meeting with a number of civil society organizations. They listened to reports from citizens about the impact of the siege and the efforts these organizations were making to reduce its impact.
- The delegation visited the only electricity plant in the territory. Officials briefed the visitors on their work in the face of prolonged and sustained shortages of fuel. During the visit the Israelis blocked the delivery of fuel to the plant. The territory was plunged into partial darkness on the second night. The following night the Gazans had a total black-out.
- A meeting was held with Palestinian fishermen. The delegation heard their concerns about the restrictions imposed upon them by the Israelis. The area they are allowed to fish in has been confined to a narrow stretch off the coast. They are regularly attacked and have suffered extensive damage and loss of ships.
- The delegation met with the families of prisoners held in Israeli jails. They have been denied visits throughout the past two years. Even the delivery of letters has been prohibited.
- The delegation visited the blocked sewage plant and drains caused by Israel’s embargo on the delivery of equipment. The untreated waste has now gathered into a huge lake posing a dangerous risk to the health of thousands of civilians and the likely outbreak of a major epidemic.