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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Egypt's siege of Gaza

Last week, CAMERA released a backgrounder aimed at the many media outlets that refer exclusively to an "Israeli siege" of Gaza without acknowledging that Egypt also chooses to severely restrict people and goods from entering Gaza.

A case in point can be seen in this story which has been ignored by the Western press.

Ma'an wrote last week:
A European group is organizing the largest-ever parliamentary visit to the Gaza Strip next month, aimed at breaking the ongoing Israeli siege.

The European Campaign to Lift the Siege of Gaza announced its preparations on Thursday, saying it intends to send legislators from all over the world to Gaza in November.

Several Arab and foreign parliamentarians expressed their wish to participate in the visit aiming at breaking the siege of the Gaza Strip, organizers said in a statement.

Leaders from Rights for All, a Swiss-based organization in Geneva, said that "parliamentarians from Algeria, Kuwait, Yemen, Jordan, Sudan and other Arab countries will join the international parliamentarian delegation."

The head of the European Campaign said that the group will also include leaders from various other countries, namely the United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Switzerland and Scotland, as well as Asia and Latin America.

Concerning the arrangements for entering the Gaza Strip, Al Gharbi said that “negotiations are ongoing with the Egyptian side."

He added that the movement has high hopes for Egypt to open the Rafah crossing to enable the delegation to enter Gaza and "see the human and medical situation" there.
In an ironic twist that has gone completely unnoticed by the mainstream media, Egypt denied this delegation from crossing Rafah:
The "European Campaign to Lift the Siege on Gaza" condemned the decision of the Egyptian authorities to refuse to allow the group, which includes scores of Arab and foreign deputies, from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing dividing Egypt and the Gaza Strip early next month.

The head of the delegation said in a press statement: "We strongly condemn the surprise decision refusing to enter the Gaza Strip from Egypt, although the objective of the visit was humanitarian."
Yes, a group of self-declared "humanitarians" who say that their objective it to stop the "Israeli siege" is stopped from entering - by Egypt.

The irony doesn't end there. The "Free Gaza" movement, which is set to sail their patched-up boat today from Cyprus to Gaza, got British MP Jeremy Corbyn to submit an absurdly anti-Israel motion to the British House of Commons (received via email):
This House applauds the excellent work of the Free Gaza Movement in highlighting the fact that Israel is imposing collective punishment on the 1.5 million people of Gaza, in contravention of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention; acknowledges the considerable amount of pressure applied by the Israeli government on a previous (FG) voyage last August; wishes the latest boat travelling from the port of Cyprus to Gaza carrying both a large group of concerned human rights workers and, including among them Palestinian MP - Dr Mustafa Barghouti, and the Nobel Peace Prize winner - Mairead Maguire, as well as medical practitioners and supplies, a safe voyage with no outside interference, and calls upon her majesty's government to take action to ensure that the massive economic, political and humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is brought to an end as a matter of urgency.
So the "Free Gaza" movement gets massive amounts of publicity and claims that Israel interfered with their non-humanitarian, PR-fueled voyage last August - when Israel allowed the boats through unimpeded - but when a much more prominent group actually does get stopped from entering Gaza by Egypt, the world media is utterly silent.