Raising awareness about the impact of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, European Muslims are pressing hard to lift the merciless blockade on the 1.6 million people in the enclave.
“The European Muslim role in lifting the Israeli siege on Gaza is backed by humanitarian and legal principles, which go in line with the values championed by European governments and societies,” Dr. Arafat Madi, chairman of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG), told IsalmOnlne.net.
“The importance of this role basically emanates from the weight of the European role in drawing up international policies.”
Madi met this week with President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek to discuss the crippling blockade on Gaza. “The meeting took up the importance of activating the European role in lifting the unjust siege on Gaza,” he said.
Israel has clamped a siege on the Gaza Strip since Hamas was voted to power in the 2006 legislative elections. It further tightened the blockade after Hamas assumed control in 2007, effectively leaving the 1.6 million Gazans cut off from the outside world and struggling with desperate poverty.
“The ECESG has sought all political means to break the siege on Gaza,” noted the European Muslim leader. He said a series of meetings were held with most European lawmakers and decision-makers to discuss how to lift the blockade.
“The ECESG has also contacted officials and governments across the continent to press for lifting the siege and having a more effective European role in the region to help restore the legitimate Palestinian rights.”
European Muslims have used different tools to bring the merciless Israeli siege to an end.
“We have taken measures, in cooperation with European MPs, to file a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice to halt a partnership agreement between the European Union and Israel over the Israeli violation of the agreement, which stipulates respect of human rights,” Madi said.
He said the Brussels-based ECESG has also played an important role in highlighting the impact of the siege. “It has also been rallying public support for the besieged Gazans via the media and organizing demonstrations and sits-in in front of government premises,” he said.
“In addition, the ECESG launched media and awareness campaigns in universities as well as sending e-mails to highlight the impact of the siege to politicians, decision-makings, press and the media.”
The ECESG has further organized several aid convoys to the blockaded strip, he said. “We also organized visits by European delegations to Gaza to assess the tragedy caused by the siege,” he said.
Last month, Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin led a delegation to Gaza to assess the situation there.
“What I witnessed in Gaza, amidst all the rubble and devastation, was a population traumatized and reduced to poverty by an unjust and completely counterproductive blockade,” he said. “The tragedy of Gaza is that it is fast in danger of becoming a tolerated humanitarian crisis.”
“[It is] a situation that is proving extremely difficult to remedy or ameliorate due to the blockade and the wider ramifications of efforts to try and achieve political progress in the Middle East.”
Madi, the European Muslim leader, hopes that the Muslim efforts would bear fruits on lifting the Gaza blockade. “The siege on Gaza is a brazen violation of international law and norms,” he said.
The ECESG chairman noted that the Israeli siege would never have continued without the West’s support. “This requires pressures on the decision-makers in the West, especially Europe, which plays an important role in efforts to lift the siege.”
Gaza...1000 Days Under Siege
Islamic Educational Organization calls on UNESCO to stop Israel’s falsification of Islamic history
Palestinian Refugees Key to Peace: UNRWA
Israeli Academics Snub Settlement College
Congressmen Ask Obama to End Gaza Siege
Erdogan slams Muslim leaders’ response to suffering of Gaza people
Wall of shame – Tariq Ramadan: Egypt / Palestine
Palestine: A turning point?