11 Sep 2008

Green MEPs call for end to boycott of Gaza

Some very good work from Caroline and Jean...by the way I am on Green Party International Comm, so I am going to be doing more to support this and other international work from the party.


The UK’s Green MEPs today urged the UK authorities to intervene to ensure
free passage for three international peace campaigners stuck in Gaza.

The three campaigners, all of whom live in the UK, are part of the Free Gaza
movement which last month sailed two boats into the Palestinian land to
deliver desperately needed medical supplies to Al Awda Hospital, along with
hearing aids to a deaf children's project, in a symbolic gesture to break
the Israeli siege of Gaza.

The voyage marked the first international cargo to reach Gaza directly since
the Israeli-led embargo on its civilians began. However, when it came to
exiting the country via the border with Egypt, the campaigners were stopped
by Egyptian state security and refused passage.

Green MEPs Dr Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert are concerned for the safety
of the three remaining campaigners, including human rights activist and
sister of Cherie Blair, Lauren Booth, who have been attempting to leave Gaza
for over a week now.

Having been turned away from the queue at the Rafah border on the official
day for foreign passport holders to pass, the group has already spent two
days at the this border with Egypt.

The MEPs have written to Her Majesty’s Consul in Cairo to request guarantees
that the UK activists will be given free passage to leave Gaza via Egypt.

Dr Caroline Lucas, Green MEP for the South East, said: “We know that Egypt
may be subject to Israeli pressure on the movement of peoples across the
border, and Israel has explicitly said it will not let the 'boat people' out
of Gaza except by boat. To actively prevent three peaceful campaigners from
returning to their resident countries is unacceptable.

“The difficulties faced by the activists at the Gaza border provide only a
brief glimpse of the challenges faced by the Palestinian people on a daily
basis, while their economy teeters on the brink as a direct result of Israel
’s illegal blockade. In such circumstances, the region will fail to deliver
anything that even resembles security for Israelis or Palestinians."

Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, added:

“I fully supported the effort by Free Gaza to provide relief to the many
Palestinians suffering the effects of Israeli occupation. The occupation of
Palestinian Territories is causing untold suffering across the region, but
nowhere more so than in Gaza.

“The Egyptian authorities have no valid reason to prevent this group from
leaving Gaza. We call on the UK government to intervene and ensure that
Egyptian border control allows the campaigners to return to the UK.”


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