Huppert joins MPs in calling for lifting of Gaza blockade

November 23, 2010 11:26 AM

Julian at Westminster deskA delegation of parliamentarians, including Cambridge MP Julian Huppert, has called for international pressure for the full lifting of the blockade of Gaza so that exports can resume.

Their call came in a report following their four day visit to the region when they visited schools, a hospital and food distribution centre and saw the tunnels where goods are smuggled in to avoid Israeli restrictions.

The report "The World's Largest Prison Camp" says that although the situation in Gaza is not as severe since Israel relaxed access for food, movement to and from Gaza for both people and certain goods remains restricted.

Restrictions on fuel remain acute and often medical supplies are routinely denied entry resulting in patients dying on a weekly basis, the parliamentarians discovered.

"Exports must be allowed to resume if the economy of Gaza, which imploded following the beginning of the siege, is able to start functioning in an orthodox manner," the report says. "The international community must continue to press for the full lifting of the blockade of Gaza and exports must be allowed to resume."

The MPs also discovered that United Nations' building schemes for new homes and eight new schools in the southern part of the region are unable to proceed because of a lack of materials.

They added that Fatah and Hamas must reach a unity agreement in the interests of the Palestinian people.

"The prospect of a unity agreement between the two parties, leading to fresh PLC and

Presidential elections, looks greater now than at any stage since the inter-factional violence of 2007," said the report. "However, an agreement still remains some way off with reform of the security services now the remaining sticking point.

"Hamas won elections to PLC that were deemed free and fair by international observers. It is incorrect to believe that any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians could

function without Hamas' support.

"Our experience suggests that dialogue could achieve more than isolation. Should a unity government be formed in the coming months this would provide a convenient opportunity

for dialogue to begin."

The MPs also remarked on the fact that only three Foreign Ministers have visited Gaza since the start of the siege and they urged as many Parliamentarians as possible to do so.

"Only by visiting the area and seeing the reality of the situation at first hand can people hope to form an accurate understanding of the problems," the report said.

Julian said: "It is imperative that we do all we can to ease the suffering of people caught up in a situation of which they have no control.

"The international community must do everything in its power to solve this crisis."

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