FIOE President visits Gaza, calls for end of siege


Mr Chakib Ben Makhlouf the president of FIOE visited Gaza Strip in an extended tour where he inspected the conditions of Palestinians and their civil institutions after three years since the Israeli war on the strip.

During his visit, the FIOE president expressed the commitment of the European Muslims to support the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights. He also confirmed that the European Continent people and civil society have an increasing understanding of the Palestinians' legitimate demands of freedom, justice, independence and an end to this inhumane siege and occupation. 


Parliament and social Affairs

The visit included the Palestinian Legislative Council (Parliament) and a meeting with the acting speaker of the Parliament, Dr Ahmed Bahr, in addition to some heads of parliamentary committees. Talks dealt with the way of developing the Palestinian-European relations and strengthening the relations between the elected parliamentary members and the European civil society. The FIOE president reviewed the general status of the Palestinian Legislative council which had been targeted by Israeli raids. He understood the obstacles that the parliamentary life faces in Palestine, on top of which is the arrest of Dr Aziz Dweik the speaker of the parliament and dozens of parliament members to hinder its meetings and proceedings. The meeting also handled the current situation of the Palestinian issue and Jerusalem under occupation. It also dealt with the issue of settlements and racial segregation wall condemned internationally.

The Palestinian minister of social affairs Ahmed Al-Kurd received the FIOE president in his office and explained the social status of Palestinians in Gaza Strip, their limited employment opportunities and the general difficult situation they live in. Discussions reviewed the development projects in various sectors and the requirements to develop the social position in Palestine.

Refugee Camps

Mr Chakib Ben Makhlouf inspected a number of refugee camps in Gaza Strip and discovered the difficult conditions of those refugees who represent the majority of Gaza Strip population. He noted that:  "I found a strong will and determination from the Palestinian refugees to confront the cruelty of reality and adhere to their right to return to their country and homes from which they were displaced in 1948. They affirm that this right is not compromisable."

The FIOE president expressed his admiration of this spirit that the Palestinians show despite all these difficulties and this long siege by the Israeli forces. He said: "I found two amazing things that attracted my attention in Gaza Strip: the first thing is that picture of deep suffering because of this continuous siege and Israeli raids against the Palestinians, including children, workers, farmers and fishers. The second is this strange determination to have decent life, education, and work in spite of the scarcity of resources."

Educational Life

The FIOE president inspected the educational life in Gaza Strip and expressed his admiration of the students who insist on attending their classes under these sever conditions to improve their lives.

He also directed attentions to the Palestinians' love of education in its different stages. He touched this when he visited the Islamic university in Gaza which is the biggest university in Palestine. He was welcomed by the university senate president Mr Jamal Al-Khudari and the university president Dr Kamal Kamalain Sha'ath. He reviewed the situation of this university, the attendance of students, the classes, laboratories, offices, and special needs education and equipment. Actually the Israeli forces bombarded this university and caused a wide destruction in 2008-2009 but the Palestinians reconstructed it. The FIOE president expressed his support of the university desire of academic networking with the European universities and promoting communication between the Palestinian students and their European peers.

Health Situation

The FIOE expressed his great sorrow for the continuous suffering of the Palestinian patients because of the Israeli restrictions imposed on the health sector in Gaza Strip which limit their ability to acquire medical equipment and medicines. These restrictions resulted in the depletion of more than 130 drugs. Mr Chakib Ben Makhlouf visited Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza and was taken on a tour by senior physicians and hospital management in which he visited some patients, some of them were injured in the Israeli raids against civilians. He discussed with the Palestinian medical departments the options of mutual cooperation and the suggested efforts to increase medical delegates to Gaza strip.

Freed Prisoners and Martyrs Graves

The FIOE president was happy to visit some of freed prisoners who were recently released from Israeli prisons and carefully listened to their difficult experience, their talk about violations and torture they endured in addition to preventing their families from visiting them. He reviewed the social initiatives that aim at rehabilitating and helping this Palestinian sector.

At the end of his tour, Mr Chakib Ben Makhlouf visited the graves of Palestinian martyrs and expressed his high esteem for these human sacrifices of the Palestinian people for the sake of their freedom and liberation from this occupation. He stood at the graves of Palestinians leaders, on top of them the late Sheikh Ahmed Yasin who spent many years in the Israeli prisons and finally was assassinated on his wheel chair in a very bloody crime after Morning Prayer.