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Ref: 29/2011

Today, 11 May 2011, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) received
Dr. Leon Hard Moll, Head of the Austrian Representative Office to the
Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Colonel Nicolaus Egger, head of the
Austrian Defence Attaché in Israel and Cyprus.



Mr. Hamdi Shaqqoura, PCHR Deputy Director for Program Affairs, met
with the visitors and talked about the situation in the oPt after the
Palestinian national reconciliation and the reflections of the reconciliation on
the oPt.

Shaqqoura criticized the policies adopted by the European Union
vis-à-vis the PNA, especially the international boycott which has contributed
to the tension at the Palestinian internal level. He explained that the boycott
was a principal factor that led to the Palestinian fight and the resulting
fragmentation that deeply affected the PNA. He stressed that it is necessary
for the international community and Europe to reconsider these policies and to
support Palestinian national reconciliation.


During the meeting, Shaqqoura noted his appreciation of Egypt’s
role in facilitating the Palestinian reconciliation agreement. He said that
Egypt’s role in implementing the reconciliation agreement is important and
asked they receive support from the Europe and the international community as a
whole.


Shaqqoura explained that Palestinians are keen to see practical
steps that lead to forming the government, restoring respect for PNA
institutions including legislative, judicial and executive institutions, and
creating an atmosphere appropriate for the organization of free and fair
elections.


Shaqqoura stressed that the main obstacle facing the Palestinian
reconciliation is Israel and the crimes committed by the Israeli forces against
Palestinian civilians. He said that Israel has benefited from the Palestinian
fragmentation by creating new facts on the ground in the West Bank especially
in their continuation and escalation of settlement activities, confiscation of
lands and the construction of the Annexation Wall. Shaqqoura called upon
Austria, Europe and the international community to exert pressure on Israel in
order to put an end to crimes committed against Palestinian civilians and to enable
Palestinians to achieve their inspirations represented in ending the occupation
and establishing their independent State.