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A new chance to enter Gaza?

25. December 2007

Second dispatch by the Italian solidarity delegation to Gaza

Yesterday we closed the day watching al Jazeera which reported both on the apostolic blessing Urbi et Orbi and on our delegation.

Today, December 24, we received a phone call by the Gaza authorities who expressed their regret about the fact that we were not allowed into Gaza by the Israeli army. Actually they had been ready to receive us with all honours. We have been informed that the news about our delegation was spread throughout Gaza. At the same time the solidarity communiquà© by the “Popular Committee against the Siege” has been sent around the world.

This morning we held a press conference in Ramallah with the kind help of our Palestinian friends. We were the guests of “Ramattan TV” which co-operates with numberous Arab media outlets. A dozen of jounalists were present including the influencial Al Arabia TV channel. Maria Grazia Ardizzone of the Anti-imperialist Camp stressed the political meaning of our mission to raise the awareness of the genocidial character of the embargo. Ugo Giannangeli, who had been international observer to the elections which saw the landslide victory of Hamas, said that we would do all to meet the legitimate government deposed by Abu Mazen. Don Franzoni, after having denounced the submission of the Italian government with regard to Israel, refered to the Second Vatican Council expressing the determination of the Christians to dialogue with the Muslims first of all with those fighting against the occupation of Palestine. The Senator Fernando Rossi closed recording his struggle in the Italian parliament against the Italian foreign missions like the one in Afghanistan. The announced his determination to return with a new delegation composed of MPs meeting also the Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel.

Then the delegation moved to the Italian consulate in Jerusalem staging a protest action in order to press for a new attempt by the Italian embassy to obtain a permission to enter Gaza. They promissed to open fresh negotiations. In any case we decided to present ourselves again at the Eretz checkpoint.

The night we went to Bethlehem were we staged a protest in front of the nativity church with a banner reading “Stop the embargo! Gaza must live!”

Leonardo Mazzei
on behalf of the Italian solidarity delegation
Jerusalem, Palestine, December 24