Saturday, 26 October 2013

Israel denies EU delegation entry to Gaza


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli government on Wednesday denied an official European Union delegation entry to the Gaza Strip, claiming the visit would strengthen the ruling Hamas movement.

Six members of an EU Parliament delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council were due to visit Gaza from Oct. 27-30 in a trip largely focused on social, economic and humanitarian issues, including visits to UNRWA health centers, schools, food distribution centers, rehabilitation centers and sports clubs.

The MEPs, from a cross-section of political parties representing six EU member states, were informed in an email by Israeli authorities that they would not be allowed into Gaza via the Erez crossing for the three-day visit, which also included trips to Christian schools, a sports clubs and the University of Palestine.

Emer Costello, chair of the European Parliament's delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, said she was "astounded and dismayed" by Israel's decision to refuse an official EU visit. more

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