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Israel prevents EU delegation from entering Gaza

An official European parliamentary delegation was prevented, by Israel, from entering the besieged Gaza Strip yesterday.

A Moscow News Agency published a statement by the European Council which said the occupation forces located at Beit Hanoon crossing Erez in the north of the Gaza Strip prevented members of the delegation from entering Gaza.

The European delegation included the British politician Chris Davies, Norbert Netzer from Germany and Kyle Neilson from France.

The statement said: “The Israeli authorities claimed that the crossing of the EU delegation to Gaza was unrelated to the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.” This has been strongly refuted by members of the delegation.

According to the statement of the EU delegation, members of the European Parliament see that the closure of the Strip by Israel is a violation of international laws, pointing out that the occupation has already brought about an economic catastrophe upon the Palestinian people in Gaza causing the humanitarian situation that is now present.

The members said: “Instead of preventing the delegation from assessing the use of European taxpayers’ money, the authorities should be largely grateful for the efforts undertaken by the European Union”.

The statement emphasised that the Geneva Convention confirms that Israel is responsible for the welfare of the people under its control and occupation.

According to the statement by the EU delegation, the aim of the visit was to hold meetings with officials from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to discuss the use of EU funds on humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip.

This is the second time Israel has denied a European parliamentary delegation from entering the Gaza Strip, a team was prevented from accessing the Strip last October.

UNRWA receives more than €100 million annually from the EU to spend on the distribution of emergency food supplies and for the provision of education in the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA Commissioner-General for Palestinian refugees Filippo Grandi demanded the international community take action to lift the siege on Gaza.

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