Hans-Gert Pöttering, the president of the European Parliament, will lead a delegation from the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly on a fact-finding trip to Gaza this weekend (22 February). MEPs will also visit Cairo, Ramallah, Jerusalem and Amman.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution yesterday (18 February) calling for the “financial, economic and social rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip”.
The resolution – which was passed with 488 in favour, five against and 19 abstentions – aims to turn attention to the long-term needs of Gaza, which has been devastated by internal rifts between Palestinian factions, Israeli incursions last month and Israel's stranglehold on its borders.
The vote took place after Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, had briefed MEPs on the EU's role in the Middle East.
Solana said that the EU needed to take “a more strategic and long-term view” on Gaza.
“Gaza needs to become politically and economically viable,” he said.
The Parliament's resolution “stresses again that the EU's financial support... should not be undermined by continuous destruction” and asks the European Commission for an assessment of the long-term prospects for successful reconstruction efforts.