Ref: 61/2007

Date: 30 October  2007

 

Letter from Sourani to Scottish Parliament on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip

MAP-UK invited Raji Sourani to be a guest of honor and speaker in an event organized in the Scottish Parliament on 24 October 2007. Sourani was slated to speak about the humanitarian situation in Palestine, especially the Gaza Strip.

Despite efforts by many parties, including the British Consulate, Sourani was denied travel to attend.

Below is a letter Sourani sent to the event:

 

Honorable MP’s,

Respected Guests,

Dear Friends,

It is regrettable that I was forced to miss the chance to be with you in person today. But I am one of nearly 1.6 million human beings residing in the Gaza Strip. We are caged in a large, open-air prison. The border crossings are at the mercy of an occupying power; and these terminals, the Strip’s veins of life, are hermetically closed. Over the past year and half, our movement in and out of the Strip has been impossible. Irrelevant of illness, education, employment, or any other humanitarian necessity, the prison gates are closed. My wife and 2 kids have been in Egypt for 1.5 years. I took the few precious chances of exceptional border openings to visit them once. And it has been months since I saw them.

As a result, Gaza lives in an unprecedented catastrophic situation. The international community, including Europe, and Israel are parties to the crime. Talking about this situation touches many facets, and hits many sore wounds. But, please allow me to elaborate on only 3 aspects of our situation.

1-     The civilian population of the Gaza Strip, protected by International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, are the only party being punished in Gaza. Thus, we are talking about an unprecedented situation where protected civilians are punished by the Israeli occupation and by the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including European countries!

2-     Secondly, the Gaza Strip has been transformed into an “animal farm!” Movement in and out of the Strip has been banned while killings, assassinations, and raids against the Strip continue on a daily basis. Simultaneously, some basic food products and medication is dumped inside it.

3-     As you receive this message, hospitals in the Gaza Strip are lacking anesthesia materials and other surgery-related medical supplies. As a result, pain, suffering, and even death threaten thousands of patients.

Can anyone claim “ignorance,” or say that they did not know?

Clearly and in broad day light, a crime is being perpetrated against civilians. This crime is a gross violation of International Law, International Humanitarian Law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention. All laws are violated; thus, we are looking at “the rule of the jungle” in practice. If it isn’t, then what is?

And for the first time, the EU and UN are partners to the crime!

I have great confidence that your respected gathering and any person who believes in humanity, human rights, and people’s issues will not remain silent. Our task is to break the conspiracy of silence, and to work in practice to stop this crime against Palestinians Civilians.

 

Thank you,

Raji Sourani

Director

PCHR