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100 person International Delegation going to Gaza, November 21-25, 2011
Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR)
Brussels/London – November 18, 2011
The Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) prepares to leave for Gaza with its largest international delegation yet. Delegates include renowned politicians from countries in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe; as well as, two outspoken Members of European Parliament – Ms. Marisa Matias and Mr. Paul Murphy.
On 4 November 2011, Mr. Paul Murphy was detained onboard the Irish boat, MV Saorise, by Israeli authorities in international waters. Along with other activists, he himself was detained for a week for having tried to help break the Gaza blockade.
Retired United States Army Colonel and former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright will accompany the delegation. She visited Gaza three times in 2009 and was on the 2010 and 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotillas.
The CEPR offers an opportunity to witness the situation on the ground for politicians willing to see Gaza with their own eyes.
The CEPR delegation will meet with local politicians, Palestinian civil society groups as well as with international NGOs and UN agencies working in Gaza. In the aftermath of the Palestinian UN bid and repeated attempts to break the siege of Gaza, this delegation will provide the chance to learn more about the Palestinian predicament.
With the release of the Israeli soldier, the CEPR considers there is no longer any reason for the Israeli Defense Forces to continue maintaining the blockade of Gaza. The CEPR’s Director, Dr. Arafat Shoukri claims: the Israeli siege is a violation of international law; this delegation shows that our friends around the world also want to see the restoration of Palestinians in Gaza.
The CEPR will issue an official joint declaration to end of the siege of Gaza by the politicians on the delegation, previous delegates as well as the network of NGOs around the world that support the restitution of Palestinian rights in accordance with international law. This declaration will endorse the free access and movement of Palestinians to and from Gaza by sea, land and air.