The Palestinian Prime Minister has met with a French delegation at his offices in the Gaza Strip, including former French ambassador Stéphane Frédéric Hessel, one of those who drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Regis Debray, an adviser on foreign affairs to former President Francoise Mitterrand. The meeting was also attended by Gaza's Minister of Justice, Mohamed Faraj al-Ghoul; the Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, Dr Ahmad Yusuf; government spokesman Taher al-Nunu; and the Director of the Mizan Centre for Human Rights, Issam Younis.
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called on his guests to help the Palestinians' liberation from occupation, to bring an end to settlement activity on Palestinian land and to establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. He stressed the need to end the unjust siege against Palestinians, especially those in the Gaza Strip, which has been turned into something resembling a large, open-air prison. During the meeting, Mr. Haniyeh also spoke of the importance of direct dialogue with Western governments in order to hear their positions and understand their vision more clearly.
Mr Hessel lamented the lack of help Palestinians had received from the international community to restore their rights since the Nakba in 1948 and the double standards in the application of international law in Israel's favour, even though it is the occupier. He hoped to improve this situation by working towards the restoration of Palestinian rights and ensuring that there is justice in the application of international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad