During today's plenary session in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL MEPs expressed their solidarity with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and called on Israel to end the naval blockade as the third Flotilla makes its way to Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid to the people there. MEPs also demanded that the Flotilla be given safe passage.

Spanish MEP Estefania Torres, who joined the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) as it set sail from its final European port in Greece, said:  “I decided take part in this third Flotilla because we, as European representatives, cannot keep silent while Gaza suffers the dramatic consequences of eight years of blockade”.

The eight-year-long Israeli-imposed blockade has had a devastating humanitarian cost for Gaza. With the movement of people and goods prohibited, the once thriving coastal strip has become the world’s largest open-air prison. Conditions have severely deteriorated following Israel’s massive military offensive last summer.

Irish MEP Martina Anderson, Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council, commented: “The many thousands of people who protested in Ireland, and across Europe, against Israel's onslaught on Gaza almost one year ago illustrate clearly the solidarity the people have with Palestine and their rejection of Israel's blockade and occupation. As an Irish MEP I share this solidarity with Palestine and outrage at the actions of Israel. The blockade has to stop. The Freedom Flotilla must be allowed into Gaza to begin to alleviate the suffering of the people there.”

Spanish MEP Ángela Vallina: “The most outrageous thing is not only the existence of a racist-led Government in Israel, but also that it counts on the passiveness of the USA as well as the EU. The latter holds a strong responsibility on this issue: bear in mind that it is its main economic partner along with member states (up to €30 billion per year of commercial exchanges); Israel has been obtaining economic privileges since 1994. It is our responsibility to cut them off, the sooner the better.

For Basque MEP Iosu Juaristi Abaunz: “It is time to reflect properly in European politics the solidarity that European citizenship insistently shows for the rights of the Palestinian people. Basque and European society require this. The Freedom Flotilla is a peaceful and humanitarian mission, and it should be able to reach Gaza. The blockade and the occupation must end.”

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) is composed of campaigns and initiatives from all over the world working together to end the siege of Gaza. The actions taken against the blockade are always governed by the principles of non-violence and non-violent resistance.

GUE/NGL MEPs have also signed an open letter to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini calling for Israel to end its illegal siege of Gaza.

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