Larnaca: Eleven members of various European Parliaments will return to the port of Larnaca on Tuesday, November 11 between 8:00 and 9:00 am on board the DIGNITY. The group had been part of a larger delegation of 53 parliamentarians who were prevented from entering Gaza earlier this month by the Egyptian government.
After being denied entry, they traveled to Gaza on the DIGNITY, a human-rights ship organized jointly by the Free Gaza Movement and the European Campaign to End the Siege. It was the third such voyage since August to challenge Israel's stranglehold on the Gaza Strip.
"The siege of Gaza is an illegal and immoral act of collective punishment imposed on the civilian population of the Gaza Strip for the 'crime' of voting in internationally supervised elections for a party not supported by the Western powers," said Ms. Short, the former British Secretary of State for International Development from 1997 to May 2003. "We have visited hospitals and schools here, and I can testify first-hand to the suffering that has been forced upon the Palestinians of Gaza."
Also on board are eight Palestinians who have been denied exit for medical treatment or to pursue their studies at universities.
One elderly couple is going to Germany. The husband had a stroke last year, and his arm is paralyzed. He was not allowed out for treatment through Rafah or Eretz, and he has not seen his children, who live in Germany, since the siege began two years ago.
One student was prevented from going to Germany and was turned back from Rafah a few days ago even though he has German passport. He is going to continue his studies in Germany, and is just one of 700 Palestinian students who have visas to study at universities in Europe who has been forbidden to leave Gaza by Israel and Egypt, another example of the collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza.
Greta Berlin, one of the organizers in Cyprus stated, "These eight Palestinians are just a small number of people who are being held captive by Israel, denied the right to leave through Rafah by Egypt, and punished for resisting the Israeli government's brutal occupation. It's time the rest of the world stands up against this immoral siege and does something to stop the deteriorating conditions in Gaza."
Contact: Mary Hughes, Cyprus +357 96 75 00 59
Greta Berlin, Cyprus: +357 99 08 17 67
Osama Qashoo, +44 78 33 38 16 60
Angela Godfrey Goldstein, Jerusalem: +972 547 366 393