|PCHR Director Raji Sourani Meets with the Honorable Baroness Catherine Ashton in Gaza|
|Sunday, 18 July 2010 00:00|
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights' (PCHR) Director, lawyer Raji Sourani, expressed satisfaction with the meeting that was held this morning between the Honorable Baroness Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and a number of figures from civil society organizations and the private and public sectors in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Sourani said that the meeting, which was held in Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children, was positive, frank and open.
Mr. Sourani began his address to the Honorable Baroness Catherine Ashton by saying that her two visits to the Gaza Strip within less than four months reflects her special attention to the conditions of the Palestinian civilian population. Mr. Sourani spoke in his speech about the catastrophic impacts of the siege imposed by Israel—as an occupying power—on the Gaza Strip, the subsequent economic and social strangulation, and how the siege has deprived Palestinians in Gaza of their dignity and forced the civilian population to become dependent on humanitarian aid. He stressed that the siege needs to be totally and immediately lifted. Mr. Sourani also warned the international community in general, and the European Union in particular, of the institutionalization of the siege, noting that the adoption of lists of goods—allowed or banned—is unacceptable and falls dramatically short of what is needed. Mr. Sourani pointed out that since the Israeli government announced these lists, no substantial change has been realized with regard to the siege and the movement of individuals and goods. He stated that pumping tons of consumer goods into the Gaza Strip does not put an end to poverty and unemployment and does not contribute at all to the movement of economic development in the Gaza Strip. He added that if the imposed siege is aimed at weakening Hamas movement, Hamas is stronger than ever before.; only civilians—who are supposed to be protected under the Fourth Geneva Convention—endure suffering. The isolation of these civilians, and the poverty and unemployment they experience create a fertile environment that fuels extremism.
Concerning the Palestinian reconciliation and internal dialogue, Mr. Sourani confirmed that Hamas movement is a part of the Palestinian people and noted its political legitimacy, as it was democratically elected. He condemned the official European position on the Palestinian democracy, which harms the Palestinian people, Palestinian civil society, human rights defenders, and the rule of law. Mr. Sourani called upon Europe to support and to encourage inter-Palestinian dialogue rather than oppose it. He further emphasized that the Palestinian reconciliation is a necessity and a basic demand for the restoration of the national unity and for putting an end to the illegal siege imposed by Israel on the Palestinian civilians.
The Honorable Baroness Catherine Ashton stressed that Europe would not accept a cosmetic end to the siege or its institutionalization. She added that ending the siege, which includes opening all the Gaza Strip's border crossings, aims to enable civilians to enjoy normal lives and to enjoy their right to freedom of movement. Baroness Ashton confirmed that the internal dialogue and reconciliation are a Palestinian issue, and the European Union supports and encourages Palestinians in accordance with the rule of law, democracy and human rights. She further emphasized that the European Union has played a major role in supporting Palestinians in their efforts to establish a Palestinian state, and has supported the Palestinian private sector as a fundamental power that contributes to the improvement of economic and social conditions. Baroness Ashton expressed her hope to find a solution for the electricity crisis and promised to exert all efforts needed for that end. Baroness Ashton concluded the meeting by saying that she places an emphasis on organizing visits to Gaza and that the suffering of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip is one of her priorities.
Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 July 2010 10:49|