| Israel refuses sheduled visit by European Parliament Working Group to Gaza!

Israel refuses sheduled visit by European Parliament Working Group to Gaza ~ ALRAY – Palestinian Media Agency.

Gaza, ALRAY – The Chairperson of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council (DPLC), Emer Costello, said “she is both astounded and dismayed at the decision of the Israeli authorities to refuse an official visit of the Delegation to Gaza,”

The visit, which was scheduled to take place between 27th and 30th October 2013, had the full support of Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament.

“Despite interventions by the President Schulz and other distinguished parliamentarians, the Israeli authorities are preventing elected members of an official delegation from paying a humanitarian visit to this ravaged and impoverished little country,” Costello said in a statement.

The Israeli authorities claimed that refusal of access was because ‘(Israel) does not facilitate visits to the Gaza Strip which will strengthen Hamas‘.

Nevertheless, no meetings with Hamas or representatives of Hamas were planned on the programme. This decision is deplorable and without foundation, according to the statement.

“Our visit was due to take place under the auspices of UNRWA, and clearly focused on vital public services such as schools, health centres and food distribution centres,” Costello added.

She noted that “Today at the European Parliament, we voted on the budget line ‘financial assistance to Palestine, the peace process and UNRWA’, granting €300 million in funding to the region for 2014. This makes the decision to refuse access to elected Members of the European Parliament even more disgraceful and nonsensical.”

http://www.labour.ie contributed.


| Violating privacy: EU demands ‘full clarification’ over NSA spying!

EU demands ‘full clarification’ over NSA spying on European diplomats, warns of severe impact on relations ~ RT.

The president of the European parliament has demanded an explanation from US authorities over the latest revelation that EU diplomatic missions in Washington, New York and Brussels were under electronic surveillance from the NSA.

“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices,” said the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. “If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations.”

“On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations,” he added.

Other EU diplomats also expressed shock concerning the latest batch of revelations in the NSA leak, reported by Der Spiegel magazine on Saturday.

“If these reports are true, it’s disgusting,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told Der Spiegel.

“The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies,” Asselborn continued. “We must get a guarantee from the very highest level now that this stops immediately.”

A spokesman for the Office of the US Director of National Intelligence had no comment on the Der Spiegel story.

Snowden, 30, a former CIA employee who blew the whistle on the massive US surveillance program that collected data both at home and abroad, is presently in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, while he is attempting to gain political asylum in Ecuador.