Ref:02-2016

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A Spanish delegation from Andalusia- Malaga concluded its visit to the Gaza Strip. It should be noted that this is the delegation’s first visit to Gaza in four years, as the Israeli authorities have been refusing its request to enter Gaza via Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing. Moreover, the delegation attempts to enter through Rafah International Crossing Point have failed more than once.

 

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The delegation consisted of Christina Ruiz, Founder and Honorary President of al-Quds Association for Solidarity With the People in Arab Countries, Javier Díaz Muriana, the International Cooperation Manager and Advocacy; Gabriel Ruiz Enciso, Head of the Cooperation and Development Programs Unit; and Ms. Catherine Germain, a volunteer and official translator. The members of the delegation held a meeting with lawyer Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) along with PCHR’s Board of Directors; Deputy Directors and Units’ Directors. The delegation also held meetings with the Legal Unit; Women’s Rights Unit and Financial Unit.

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The delegation had field visits around the Gaza Strip and met victims of the 2014 Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. They then met with national figures, intellectuals and civil society organizations. Canaan Institute of New Pedagogy, whose director is Issa Saba, organized several meetings for the delegation with the staff of Canaan Institute and partner organizations. Moreover, the delegation attended “The Photographer” play for artist Ali Abu Yassin, whom they met with also.

It is worth mentioning that al-Quds Association was founded fifteen years ago. The first Board of Directors included as members from Palestine; Sourani, and both of the deceased Dr. Haidar Abdel Shafi and Dr. Eyad al-Sarraj. The Association aims at supporting the Palestinian cause and Palestinian civil society and has special ties with PCHR and Canaan Institute. Commenting on the delegation’s visit, Sourani said, “Al-Quds Association is a bright and wonderful model of cooperation in terms of popular support and real and practical solidarity with the Palestinian people based on ethical, legal and political grounds. We are proud of our relationship, which has been flourishing over the past fifteen years and will continue the same.”

On the other hand, Sourani met eighteen Norwegian members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Norwegian Parliament. Sourani said that Norway bear the moral, humanitarian and political responsibility for the consequences of the Oslo Accords, reminding that its goal was: first, to build confidence between the two parties; and second, to establish a Palestinian State on 04 May 1999, i.e. by the end of the transitional period. Twenty-two years have passed after Oslo Accords; the reality now is that Gaza has been under an immoral, inhumane and illegal closure, which is considered the greatest man-made catastrophe done by the occupation. In addition, Gaza experienced three Israeli offensives, where civilians and civilian objects were in the eye of the storm. Sourani described what is going on in Jerusalem as ethnic cleansing and creating Jewish majority in the city. He also explained that what is going on in the West Bank is a replica of the apartheid in South Africa, but it is bloodier and more blatant. Sourani stressed that Europe and the USA were accomplices in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity by offering Israel and its leaders legal and political impunity and political justifications rather than prosecuting them.

Sourani stressed, “The Palestinian people are now on the right side of history, and will not be a good victim of the occupation. The grim reality will not lead us to despair but will strengthen our determination. We will never forget nor forgive, and we will prosecute the Israeli war criminals”. Sourani reviewed the work done by the Palestinian human rights organizations and submitted to the International Criminal Court.

In a separate meeting, Sourani met with the Director of the Carter Center in Jerusalem, and his assistant, who were on a visit to the Gaza Strip.