Closed! Israel refuses access to Gaza to Council of Europe delegation

1 December 2014

Closed! Israel refuses access to Gaza to Council of Europe delegation

Going back on previous agreements, Israel today refused access to Gaza to a delegation from the Council of Europe. The delegation, which wanted to look for itself at the results of the summer war, handed an official protest to the Israeli government and Parliament (the Knesset). SP Senator Tiny Kox, who was on the delegation, said that ‘Israel has closed Gaza to us. That’s in conflict with the rules of our Assembly, in which Knesset Members also take part as observers. Moreover, it’s counterproductive. People who close the door evidently have something to hide.’

SP-senator Kox visiting the divided Israeli Knesset

According to the Israeli government no political delegations will be allowed into Gaza as long as Hamas is running the show. This argument doesn’t cut the mustard, however, Kox argues. ‘For a start there has been for the last six months a government of national unity in Palestine as a whole, made up of technocrats under the leadership of President Abbas, but also recognised by Hamas. Secondly the new High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, was allowed into Gaza just a few weeks ago. Her speech then showed that the eventual goal of the entire EU is to see Palestine recognised as an independent state, which would not have gone down well with the Israeli government. In my view things will only get worse for Israel if its government continues to keep Gaza locked down whenever it feels like it.'

Kox and his colleagues will be putting the Israeli actions on the agenda at the first available opportunity, the Assembly’s upcoming meeting in Paris, when appropriate measures will be considered.  

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