Ramallah, 02 Ramadan 1437/07 June 2016 (MINA) – The European Union organized a weeklong press tour in the West Bank and Jerusalem for nine European journalists to introduce them to the projects implemented to provide vital services for the Palestinian people.
Annually, the EU invites a number of European journalists from prominent media outlets, including TV, newspapers and radio stations, to brief them on the work and projects implemented in the oPt to help improve the life of Palestinians in need and support state-building efforts.
Shadi Othman, communication officer at the EU told WAFA the projects implemented by the EU are not ed to one sector, but expand to include education, health, refugees, area C. and East Jerusalem.
“We try to put together a tour that includes all areas and covers all sectors. And at the same time, give the visiting journalists the chance to learn more about the situation through meetings with Palestinian officials and civil institutions.”
Following a briefing by the EU Press office, the journalists expressed interest in covering issues related to settlements in the West Bank, the issues faced by Palestinian refugees, the possibility of a two-state solution, EU projects implemented in Area C, diplomatic efforts, the recent rise in violence and life in the Gaza Strip. Due to permits restrictions, the journalists were not able to visit the Gaza Strip.
The six-day tour began in Ramallah and covered cities and areas in Tubas, Nablus, Qalqilia, Hebron, Jerusalem and Jericho.
The journalists who come from Greece, Cyprus, and Slovenia arrived in Ramallah and met with Catherine Cook of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Cook provided the visiting journalists with an intensive and comprehensive background about OCHA’s work in the oPt, the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
The first day of the tour included a visit to the Mausoleum of the late leader Yasser Arafat, and a quick tour near the Israeli settlement of Beit El, which is illegally built on Palestinians’ land.
The journalists visited the location where many protests and clashes broke out between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers during the latest wave of violence starting early October 2015.
Israeli Army and settlers oppress Palestinians
The visiting journalists agreed that the visit has provided them with a new understanding of the conflict. To those who have visited Palestine before, the visit showed them the extent of deterioration in the living conditions of Palestinians in the West Bank and especially East Jerusalem.
Ulas Baris from Kibris Postasi told WAFA “I saw how the Israeli army and the settlers oppress the Palestinians, which amazed me because I never knew how aggressive the settlers are. I saw discrimination everywhere.”
He commended the efforts of the EU and the quality of the projects being implemented in the oPt, but called for more pressure on Israel to end all violations on the ground.
“Pressure can do more than money in here. The EU can build a house for Palestinians and Israel would destroy it the next day.”
He explained that the EU should help Palestinians get permits to build homes and schools before providing workers with helmets to protect themselves during construction. (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)