Sinn Fein MEP and Derry woman, Martina Anderson, has been denied entry into the Gaza Strip by the Israeli government.
Ms. Anderson and two other Sinn Fein MEPs are part of a European Parliament delegation currently on a four day visit to Palestine and Israel where they will meet members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Knesset, as well as activists from both Palestinian and Israeli human rights and peace organisations.
The group had also planned to visit Gaza. However, they have been thwarted by the Israeli government’s refusal to let them enter Gaza, a decision which the MEPs strongly condemn.
“The Israeli government refused us, 13 MEPs from six countries, 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 2145 fatalities, including 581 children, not to mention Israel’s 8-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.