12 April 2009

Hundreds of EU Elected Officials Visit Gaza

100 European lawmakers, governors, mayors visit West Bank refugee camps

Some 100 European parliamentarians, mayors and governors arrived in the West Bank on Sunday under the auspices of a program that “twins” French cities with Palestinian refugee camps.

The leaders, who are primarily French, visited their counterparts on Sunday in the twinning project in Deheisha Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The delegation is led by Fernand Tuil, the head of the French twinning committee (Association des Villes Françaises Jumelées avec des Camps de Réfugiés Palestiniens).

The delegation is scheduled to visit several Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Jerusalem to show solidarity with the Palestinian people, and demonstrate support for Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homes from which they and their ancestors were expelled in 1948.

The delegation will also hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and other Palestinian politicians in order to receive updates about the situation in Palestine.

According to Tuil, the predominantly French delegation is the largest of its kind that has ever come to the Palestinian territories. He said the goal of the visit is to support the struggle of the Palestinian people for their national aims.

During their visit that began at noon in Deheisha Camp, the European officials met Ahmad Muheisin, head of the Palestinian side of the twinning committee, and Muhammad Al-Lahham, a Palestinian lawmaker, and attended a reception at Al-Fineiq Hall.

Another meeting is scheduled to be held in Aida Refugee Camp, also in Bethlehem, where the guests will meet Palestinian lawmaker Issa Qaraqi and other activists in the camp to discuss a potential pairing between Aida and the French city Nogent.