Sinn Fein MEP, Martina Anderson, has been denied entry to Gaza by the Israeli government.
Ms. Anderson had been leading an EU cross-party delegation of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Palestine when it was denied entry.
This is the fourth time in two years that the Israeli government has stopped the Delegation from crossing over into Gaza.
“I condemn, in the strongest terms, the Israeli authorities’ decision to deny this delegation access to Gaza for the fourth time,” said Ms. Anderson.
“As part of its mandate the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Palestine, which I chair, travelled to the region yesterday on a four day fact-finding mission in the West Bank and Gaza.
“EU support to the Palestinians amounts to 300 million euros per annum.
“The purpose of the delegation’s visit is to assess the situation on the ground and the impact EU policies and assistance programmes are having on the lives of Palestinians.
“Despite stating clearly that the remit of this delegation has a purely social, economic and humanitarian focus, we continue to be blocked,” she added.
Ms. Anderson said the European Parliament must now take action against Israel for denying the democratically elected delegation passage into Gaza and described the government’s conduct as “unacceptable”.
“It is unacceptable that an official EU delegation to Palestine is refused entry to assess the humanitarian situation and the destruction in Gaza. Since the EU is the largest contributor of finance to Palestinians it is time the EU took steps to insist its delegations are allowed unhindered access to the region,” she said.
“These blatant attempts to deter us from our responsibilities to monitor the impact of EU funding in the Region should not be allowed to go unchallenged. The European authorities must leave Israel under no illusions that there will be repercussions if it insists on blocking access to Gaza by the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Palestine.
“If Israel thinks that blocking EU-accredited International delegations from visiting Gaza that its illegal demolitions of EU-funded structures and other acts of oppression will be hidden from the wider world then it is seriously mistaken. It will only strengthen our resolve to expose what can only be described as Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people,” added Ms. Anderson.
The delegation will return from its fact finding mission on Friday February 12.
The EU cross-party delegation of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Palestine comprises of Delegation Chair Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL, Irish) and six other members: Margrete Auken (Vice-Chair of Delegation, Greens, Denmark), Roza Thun (EPP, Poland), Eugen Freund (S&D, Austria), Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE/NGL, France), Rosa D’Amato (EFDD, Italy) and Konstantinos Papadakis (NI, Greece).