Saturday, November 8, 2008

European Parliamentarian Show their Solidarity with Gaza Strip - In Defiance of Israeli Siege & Egyptian Blockade

Solidarity Ship Carrying European Parliamentarians and Medical Supplies Reaches Gaza Port
Palestinian News Network

Gaza / PNN – Television crews, officials and dozens of well-wishers greeted the fourth solidarity ship as it arrived in the Gaza port at 9:15 Saturday morning. An international parliamentarian delegation was on board the Al Karama which set sail from Cyprus yesterday evening.

Medical equipment to diagnose and treat bone disease, along with medicines and other supplies, were being unloaded Saturday morning.

The European Campaign and Gaza’s Palestinian Ministry of Health coordinated the shipment.

Head of the European Campaign to Lift the Siege on Gaza, Dr. Arafat Madi, said the ship brought much needed medicine to the Gaza Strip along with European parliamentarians from Britain, Italy, Switzerland, Scotland and Ireland. Many of the 53 international MPs who were banned from entering Gaza through the Egypt border with Rafah last month are now in the Strip.

Delegates from the ship will remain in the Strip for three days during which several visits will be undertaken to view the devastation caused by the Israeli siege. Focus will be placed on the medical, social and educational sectors. Government officials and representatives of civil society are hosting several of the events.

"I am here to assess the humanitarian situation in Gaza, especially the medical situation. We have medicine and some medical equipment to deliver," said Baroness Jenny Tonge, one of the parliamentarians. "What Israel does is outrageous when it breaks all international laws. No other country is able to get away with what Israel does."

Dr. Madi assured residents and the press that the European Campaign will continue efforts until “the unjust and destructive siege on the Gaza Strip is broken.” The campaign director also issued a public call to activate Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international efforts to join forces in breaking the siege.

Much of the current 23 person group is comprised of members from a delegation to which Egyptian authorities denied passage through the Rafah crossing. The international parliamentarians represented Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Scotland and the European Parliament and others as well as North Africa, Asia and Latin America and Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, Yemen, Jordan, Sudan and Egypt.

A press conference with 22 parliamentarians, lawyers and activists is planned for Monday at 11:00 in Gaza City.

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