Gaza/Brussels/London – November 24, 2011
CEPR welcomes Palestinian reconciliation efforts
As Palestinian reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah take place in Cairo – despite renewed turmoil in the city center – the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) delegation had meetings with Palestinian prisoners released last month and their families in Gaza before heading back to Rafah and the Egyptian capital.
During the last last three days, the CEPR delegation visited local NGOs, women’s groups and al-Shifa Hospital where they learned about the extreme difficulties in providing proper treatment to patients due to the lack of electricity and medication.
Zouhair Noufal, Director of Nursing, said: “we aspire to the highest level of service for our patients with all the necessary medication for treatment.” Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council are helping to support reconstruction efforts for special surgery ward.
The delegation of over 90 politicians and civil society members from 35 countries coming from South America, Asia, North America and Europe also visited the University College for Applied Sciences (UCAS) that is advancing very level of education in the Gaza Strip.
The highlight of the CEPR delegation to Gaza was the International Declaration to Refuse People’s Blockade on Tuesday, November 22, when Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, said that Gaza “was proud to be a cradle of declarations against sieges and the repression of peoples around the world.”
Concerning the Palestinian reconciliation efforts, PM Haniyeh told the CEPR delegation that the Palestinian division was “incidental and not the norm.” He added that the “wheel of reconciliation was moving” and that the “reconciliation process will lead to a national unity government.”
The CEPR welcomes these internal Palestinian efforts to reach common ground to stand stronger together in the struggle for statehood. Regardless of the duration of the national unity government and the forthcoming transitional period, Director, Dr. Arafat Shoukri added that: “the Israeli siege of Gaza and occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem still remains the largest obstacle to peace.”
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