Matt Carthy MEP to join European Parliament delegation to Palestine
The delegation will arrive in the region on Thursday morning. Mr. Carthy said that he hopes to bring the solidarity of his constituents to the people of Palestine and also to learn more about the situation on the ground and ascertain how Ireland and Europe can assist to develop a meaningful peace process.
Mr. Carthy and other MEPs travelling on the delegation met with the Palestinian Ambassador to the EU, Leila Shahid, in Brussels on Tuesday ahead of the visit and received an in depth briefing of the current situation.
Speaking before travelling on the delegation, Mr Carthy said:
"I have been contacted by countless constituents over the summer months who wanted to register their abhorrence at the actions of the Israeli government and forces in recent months, particularly in Gaza.
“Many were disgusted at the Irish government who abstained at the UN Human Rights Council resolution calling for an investigation into Israeli aggression. On their behalf, I wanted to be part of the first European parliamentary delegation to visit the region in this mandate. I will be joined by my fellow Sinn Fein MEPs Lynn Boylan and Martina Anderson (who will be leading the delegation) and by a further ten MEPs from across Europe.
"I was pleased to get an opportunity on Tuesday, in advance of the delegation leaving, to meet with the Palestinian Ambassador to the European Union, Leila Shahid in Brussels.
"Ambassador Shahid briefed us on the latest situation in Gaza, including the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
"It was a particularly useful engagement ahead of our delegation. Of course we have welcomed the latest ceasefire announcement in Gaza but it must be built upon if it is to result in a lasting peace which will bring an end to the slaughter of the Palestinian people.
"I also welcome the conclusions of a special meeting of the European Council held on Monday which called on all sides to respect the ceasefire and to continue negotiations.
"It also called for the lifting of the Israeli blockade and for unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza. These must be first steps as too must be the immediate return of Palestinian lands that have been annexed by Israel despite huge international condemnation".
A full report on the delegation visit will be provided next week.