The Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) has announced that it is hosting a European parliamentary delegation which will attempt to visit Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons. According to the CEPR announcement:
March 01, 2013 Brussels- A European political parliamentarian delegation is scheduled to arrive Friday to Occupied Jerusalem and Hebron in an attempt to visit the Palestinian hunger strikers in the Israeli jails and check up their health conditions. The director of the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) Dr. Arafat Shoukri stated that the delegation is a continuation of the efforts made by the CEPR over the past year to have the European Union (EU) and its member states intervene and stop the continued Israeli human rights violations against the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails. Dr Shoukri also said that the delegation will meet with the UK ambassador to Israel in Tel Aviv and will investigate the living conditions of the Palestinian prisoners in general and of those who are on a hunger strike in particular. ” The delegation will prepare a full report on the conditions of the Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli occupation jails and the Israeli violations against them. They will later submit the report to specialized committees at the European Parliament.” Shoukri Added. The delegation includes a number of Parliamentarians from different European countries. Sir Gerald Kaufman, a British Parliament member and an ex minister, Sandra White and Jim Hume, members of the Scottish Parliament and Pat Sheehan, a member of the Irish Parliament and an ex hunger striker at the British jails, will be leading the delegation. There are 4750 Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails. 470 of them are from Gaza Strip and are sentenced to long-term imprisonment. The conditions of Israeli prisons do not meet with the minimum standards of human rights, which are stated in the international laws and conventions, especially the Geneva Fourth Convention. Shoukri also pointed out that the CEPR has worked lengthily to organize European delegations to Palestine in order to inform the European decision makers about the conditions of the Palestinian and Arab prisoners in the Israeli occupation jails. The itinerary of the European delegation, said Shoukri, includes visits to the families of the Palestinian prisoners Aiman Al-Sharawna and Samer Issawi who have been on a hunger strike for several months. In addition, the delegation will meet with a number of Palestinian children from Silwan area in Occupied Jerusalem where children continually get arrested and harshly treated by the Israeli occupation soldiers. Israel never publicly opens its prisons to political or parliamentarian or human rights bodies for this can expose its oppressive and discriminatory practices against the prisoners, which is a blatant violation to all international humanitarian laws and conventions. Shoukri added.”
Dr. Arafat Shoukri is the head of both the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) in Brussels and the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) in the U.K. The PRC has strong ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood and two PRC directors are also directors of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), generally regarded as part of the UK. Muslim Brotherhood. The PRC is also listed as an affiliate of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) dominated by UK. Muslim Brotherhood groups. PRC activities are frequently promoted by the MAB, MCB, and other U.K Brotherhood organizations. PRC director Ghassan Four is also a Trustee of INTERPAL, a key member of the Union of Good and part of the Muslim Brotherhood Hamas fund-raising network . PRC director Zaher Birawi is a Trustee of Education Aid for Palestine (EAP), also a part of the Union of Good. Mr. Birawi is also head of programming for Al-Hiwar TV which frequently features MB/Hamas individuals and organizations and was founded by Azzam Al-Tamimi, a U.K Muslim Brotherhood leader and close to Hamas. An Israeli web site, known to be close to Israeli military intelligence, has reported that Mr. Birawi, along with another PRC Trustee are “past Hamas operatives who found refuge in Britain in the early nineties.” Dr. Shoukri is also the chairman of the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG) which was the main organizer of the unsuccessful Second Gaza Flotilla and which operates from the same address and has the same telephone as the PRC. The CEPR appears to operate largely as a lobbying group at the EU and has accompanied EU lawmakers on trips to Gaza.