Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has criticised the Israeli government for refusing an international delegation of MEPs entry to Gaza.
Speaking from Jerusalem, Ms Anderson, who is leading the delegation which includes fellow MEPs Lynn Boylan and Matt Carthy, said:
"The Israeli government refused us, 13 MEPs from six countries, entry into Gaza on the grounds that our visit to the region is 'not directly concerned with the provision of humanitarian assistance'.
"This beggars belief considering that the horrific and harrowing humanitarian situation in Gaza is a direct result of Israel's 53-day military attack on the Gaza Strip.
"This resulted in 2,145 fatalities, including 581 children, not to mention Israel's eight-year blockade of the region.
"We want to go to Gaza to assess the situation on the ground first hand.
"This would have enabled us to relay that information back to the European Parliament and push for greater provision of EU humanitarian aid to Gaza and an end to the blockade and occupation.
"We call on the Israeli authorities to overturn this decision and grant us access."