During a press conference conducted by ten members of the European Parliament from different political groups, led by Luisa Morgantini, Vice-President of the EU parliament, the members stated that they broke the siege and travelled into the Gaza strip on February 5, 2008.The ten EU MP’s stated that this blockade is an illegal act of collective punishment against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, and stresses on the urgency of lifting it.
The delegates visited Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza in expressed deep concern over the extreme difficulties under which the hospital is operating as patients who suffer from cancer and other serious illnesses cannot receive the needed treatment as the siege emptied the hospital and medical centers from medical supplies.
They also stated that there are 30 premature babies who are now in incubators but are facing the risk of death if the generators stop due to the lack of fuel resulting from the siege imposed by Israel.
Moreover, the delegation met with several businessmen in Gaza who said that they cannot carry out their commercial activities as the Israeli siege resulted in increasing unemployment rates among the residents to 80%.
The visiting members of the EU parliament said in a press conference, broadcasted by several major Arab stations, that they are impressed by the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, called on all factions to achieve unity, and stressed on the importance of unity between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
They also called for opening the Rafah Border Crossing between Gaza and Egypt and called for free movement of people and goods.
The MPs added that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians must be resumed and that Israel must freeze all of its illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in order to enable the Palestinians establish an independent and contiguous Palestinian state on the 1967 borders living in peace next to Israel.
They added that the International Community must ensure that all Palestinian political detainees and the detained legislators and officials are freed from Israeli prisons.
They also urged the international community to encourage Israel to show “a concrete will for peace” by freezing the construction of the Annexation Wall, freezing settlement construction, and removing checkpoints and roadblocks.
On February 4, the MP’s visited the southern west Bank city of Hebron and described it as a “Ghost Town”, as the residents are under ongoing violations by the soldiers and settlers. They added that Hebron is occupied by hundreds of Israeli soldiers who are guarding 400 fanatic settlers.