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MPs release report on humanitarian delegation to Gaza and West Bank

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From August 7 to August 14, 2009 a delegation of Canadian Members of Parliament traveled on humanitarian fact-finding mission to Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. This week, they presented their report and recommendations to Parliament at a Press Conference on the Hill.

The delegation consisted of Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Bloc Quebecois MP Richard Nadeau, and NDP MP Libby Davies. The report outlines the MPs' findings and observations - which included visits to the still devastated Northern region of Gaza, to refugee camps, as well as a rare visit to the illegal tunnels - and outlines seven recommendations for Parliament and Parliamentarians to consider.

The report can be downloaded in English here and in French here.

While the MPs visited Jordan and the West Bank with the organizational assistance of Canadian Foreign Affairs, they took the unusual decision to enter and spend a night in Gaza without the support of the Canadian government.  While elected representatives from the U.S., Europe and other countries have visited Gaza over the past several months, the Canadian government refused to facilitate entry to Gaza for these MPs. Instead, the MPs, who traveled to Gaza at the invitation of UNRWA, took up the offer of assistance from the peace organization Code Pink, and traveled from the West Bank to Gaza via a 24 hour+ trek that took them through Jordan, Cairo and the Sinai to Rafah border.

These Canadian MPs were not only the first to visit Gaza since the area was devastated by Israel's "Operation Cast Lead", but are reported to be the first Parliamentary delegation to visit Gaza since Prime Minister Jean Chretien visited in 2003.

See a sampling of photos of the delegation on Richard Nadeau's (MP Gatineau) website. 

Read Libby Davies' (MP Vancouver East) blogs of the delegation here.

Watch a flip video of the November 25, 2009 press conference here. Video is available in French on rabbletv's YouTube channel.

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