Third dispatch from occupied Palestine
In a statement by Dr. Ahmed Bahar, acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, issued on December 26, he thanked the Italian solidarity delegation for its efforts to break the unjust embargo against the population of Gaza. Bahar defined the Italian delegation as "living example of human consciousness" which wants to fight against injustice and aggression represented by the Israeli occupation amid the most complete silence by the so-called international community. He denounced the Israeli decision to block the delegation as an attempt to hide the suffering of the Gaza population before the world public.
Bahar invited the free citizens of the world and the parliamentarians of the Arab and Islamic world to follow the example of the delegation. Even if the delegation did not succeed in entering Gaza it will help to raise the public awareness about the Israeli violations which will eventually help to lift the embargo.
Regret by Hamas and PM Haniya
Also the parliamentary fraction of Hamas "expressed its appreciation for the gesture of the Italian delegation visiting the occupied territories and the efforts to meet the kidnapped Palestinian MPs in Israeli prisons". In a phone conversation the representative of the parliamentary group thanked the delegation for its attempt to enter Gaza and to directly try to touch the disastrous impact of the siege.
Dr. Mohamad Awad, director of the office of PM Haniya, on his part condemned the Israeli ban on the Italian delegation led by Senator Fernando Rossi. In a press conference held in Gaza on the afternoon of December 26 Dr. Awad and Dr. Atef Adwan, former minister for refugees, expressed their regret and appreciated at the same time the Italian campaign against the embargo. Awad stressed that the Italian delegation intended to meet the inhabitants of the strip expressing solidarity as they "live under the unjust siege which violates all international laws". He added that the government maintained steady contact with the delegation and had prepared a programme which included a meeting with the PM Ismail Haniya.
Meeting with Hamas' and PFLP's MPs
On Christmas Day the delegation met with representatives of the parliamentary fractions of Hamas and the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine).
The Hamas leaders explained their position on the so-called peace talks. They stressed that the responsibilities of Israel as an occupation force must be met as a precondition for peace: the right to return for all the refugees, the restitution of robbed land etc. in order that the sovereignty of the Palestinian people can become effective. Only as soon as Israel recognises the right of the Palestinian people to exist, the Palestinians can recognise Israel.
The representatives of the PFLP, among them also the female MP Khalida Jarrar, explained in which way Israel deliberately keeps targeting their activity in support of the people in the social and sanitary field. The Zionists attempt to destroy the livelihood of the people uprooting olive tries and damaging agriculture, impeding animal husbandry and stealing the water resources.
Demonstration at Eretz checkpoint
On the morning of December 26 the delegation presented itself once again at the Eretz checkpoint asking to enter Gaza. Also this time entry was refused. But in difference to the first attempt on Dec 23 no engagements were under way. So the justification "security reasons" was revealed to be a pretext. In the afternoon an official military notification reached the delegation by way of the Italian consul referring to "political reasons" for the refusal.
The occasion was seized to hold a protest demonstration in front of the checkpoint denouncing Gaza as an outright concentration camp.