On Wednesday, 24 October 2018, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) received 2 international delegations; the first included the Italian Consul General in Jerusalem, Fabio Sokolowicz, and his accompanying delegation while the second included a delegation from the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Italian delegation met with Lawyer Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR, and addressed the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), including the inhumane closure and collective sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip for 12 years in addition to its catastrophic impact on all life aspects of Palestinians. Sourani stressed that the international community is responsible for protecting the Palestinians’ rights and shall practice pressure on the Israeli authorities to end the collective punishment and stop the human man-made disaster. The meeting also discussed the crimes committed by the Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians and use of excessive force against the participants in the peaceful protests along the eastern and northern Gaza Strip borders that resulted in the killing of hundreds in circumstances that did not pose danger to the life of soldiers.
On the other hand, PCHR received on the same day as well a delegation from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that included each of Patrick Empey, Deputy Head of Devaluation and Audit Unit; and Iseult Fitzgerald, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department.
The meeting reviewed the circumstances and situation PCHR work in and its plans and programs implemented to respect human rights in the oPt. The meeting addressed the joint cooperation and strong long-term partnership between PCHR and Irish Aid. Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR, expressed his deep appreciation for the initial Irish position towards the Palestinian cause and ongoing support for the rights of Palestinian people and Civil Society. The meeting also talked about the defamation campaigns led by the Israeli government and Right-wing extremist organizations aiming at undermining the reputation of Palestinian human rights organizations and civil society organizations in general to restrict them and drying up the funding sources on grounds of these organizations’ work in prosecuting the Israeli war criminals and bringing them to the international courts and holding them accountable for their crimes committed against the Palestinian civilians in the oPt.