Pressmeddelande från Luisa Morgantini, vice ordförande EP

Why is there no protest when a former US President and Nobel Peace
Prize laureate is denied entry to Gaza?

20 Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers have been killed, and in the Gaza Strip people continue to die. The International Community and EU must work for a cease-fire and an end to the siege.

While the Israeli Government continues its policy of isolation and collective punishment towards the Palestinian civil population in Gaza, it has also prevented to a former Head of State to visit the Gaza Strip. This unprecedented decision was adopted in the case of Jimmy Carter, former US President and 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Carter has always declared himself a sincere supporter of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, based on the creation of two people and two states, and has denounced the policies of Apartheid.

Moreover, Carter was a mediator in the 1978 Camp David negotiations; the first agreement signed by Israel and an Arab State, Egypt.  If this decision had been made by any other country, it would have provoked a real protest in the international media. Meanwhile, the situation in the Gaza Strip becomes more desperate
every day: the International Community and the European Union must work for an immediate cease-fire and toward an end of all acts of violence. Once again, the price is paid by the civilian population.
Each military action that involves civilians, as was the case yesterday in the Gaza Strip, must be condemned in adherence to International Humanitarian Law.

In addition, essential services are nearing collapse due to a lack of fuel supplies.  This is the result of Israel’s April 9th decision to cease the fuel distribution to Gaza, although today the fuel supply only for the Gaza’s only electric power station was reopened. In a press release yesterday, 8 UN Agencies denounced the fuel restrictions because they endanger the basic needs of the civil population. PMRS, one of the major NGO’s providing health services in Gaza and the West Bank, has also launched an appeal regarding the immediate ”humanitarian disaster” and is at risk of having to suspend all its activities. A statement by the Popular  Committee against the Siege of Gaza (PCAS, part of the ongoing campaign in Gaza, says that more than 85 % of private vehicles and more then 65% of sanitary transport vehicles are unusable because of the lack of fuel.

Palestinians in Gaza are denied the most basic necessities and the possibility to lead a dignified life. Once again the Palestinian population is suffering from massive collective punishment, explicitly illegal under International law. Yesterday, Physicians for Human Rights, an Israeli NGO, and the Campaign for the end of the siege in Gaza denounced the DCO’s (Israeli Defence Coordination Office) umpteenth refusal to allow Palestinian medical patients to enter Israel or the West Bank for medical care and treatments.  Since the siege started 133 Palestinians have died as a result of these kinds of refusals and
today 1,562 patients are waiting to leave Gaza for urgent medical care. On April 13th for the forth time Islam Alassouli, a 4 years old child from Khan Younis was not allowed to pass the Eretz crossing into Israel for a bone marrow transplant. He received no explanation for the refusal.

The kind of transplant needed by Islam is impossible in Gaza’s hospitals: because of the total closures imposed by Israel, elaborate medical equipment is unavailable and even vital medicines are nowhere to be found.

The International Community and the European Union have no more excuses: they must intervene immediately, in a stronger and more effective way, for the immediate opening of all of Gaza’s border
crossings (according to the obligations of an occupying army under International Law), and for an immediate cease-fire by both sides.

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