High Profile European Parliamentarians Visit
A number of European Parliamentarians visited Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) on November 11th. The delegation met with Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj, Director General of GCMHP, Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), Tahany Abu Daqa representing the Culture and Free Thought Association, and Lama Horani representing the Palestinians Working Womenís Society.
Dr. El-Sarraj began the seminar by introducing GCMHP to the visitors. He continued to explain the political, economical and psycho-social condition of Palestinians as a result of the psychological violence waged by Israel on the Gaza Strip. In particular, Dr. Sarraj referenced the sonic booms that have been destabilizing the Gaza Community. He made direct reference to the United States being influenced by certain lobby groups and urged the visitors to allow the EU to follow the a neutral path. Dr. El-Sarraj continued by focusing on the connection between human rights and psycho-social trauma resulted from Israeli violations in the Occupied Territories.
Raji Sourani continued by stating that the disengagement is simply redeployment. Israel continues to rage economic restrictions against Palestine, suffocating the Palestinian economy in the Gaza Strip. He proclaimed the disengagement was a mirage to be consumed by the Western Media. Mr. Sourani discussed the upcoming elections, outlining that the EU must make a choice whether they wish to support International Law and Geneva Conventions or occupation and terrorism. He continued to proclaim that Palestinians want three simple things: an end to occupation, international law and the Geneva Conventions, and Israel must choose whether they want to give Palestinians autonomy or give Palestinians the right to live free from Israeli control, even if they live in Israel.
When asked by the delegation about the role of women in the upcoming elections, Ms. Abu Daqa commented by stating that women donít feel as though they are part of the upcoming elections. She continued to proclaim that women donít see political organizations as directly helping women and that they are looking for a political platform that deals directly with their concerns.
Before closing comments were made by Lama, from the Palestinian Working Womenís Society, comparing the Sonic Booms attacks with the bombing of Beirut proclaiming that the booms were extremely disturbing. She continued by asking the delegation who would control the internal and external threats during elections since the PA cannot fill this role single- handedly.
Closing comments were made by Dr. El-Saraj and Mr. Sourani. Speaking with vigor great emotion the men pleaded the delegation to take action. Both men continued by asking the delegation to act for change. The world must be free from alienation, fear, and humiliation, something Palestinians know all too well. The international community must make people feel accepted if they wish for peace, which in the end everyone must strive for.
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme