Delegation from FES headquarters visits the Gaza Strip

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A delegation from FES headquarters in Berlin visited the Gaza Strip for an information and consultation program from October 23rd to 24th, 2018. The delegation consisted of Ms. Christine Kesper, Head of FES’ Division International Development Cooperation, and Dr. Ralf Melzer, Desk Officer for the Palestinian Territories in the Middle East and North Africa department.

The delegation, alongside director of the FES office in the Palestinian Territories, Dr. Beyhan Şentürk and Senior Program Manager in the Palestinian Territories Dr. Usama Antar, met with a variety of FES partner organizations, civil society, and political actors, including the UNRWA deputy head in the Gaza Strip, Mr. David de Bold. The conversation with UNRWA focused on the impact of the UNRWA financial crisis on the refugee issue. Moreover, the program included discussions with representatives of  various Think-Tanks, which provided insights into the internal Palestinian situation as well as Egypt’s current mediation role between Fatah and Hamas regarding reconciliation, and between Hamas and Israel regarding a potential ceasefire agreement.

During the visit, the delegation visited the Saint Prophyrius Church in the center of Gaza City and discussed the relationships between Christian and Muslim citizens in the Gaza Strip. Accompanied by Première Urgence Internationale, the delegation furthermore visited the buffer zone east of the Gaza Strip, and discussed the living conditions near the buffer zone with local farmers and residents. During a meeting with civil society representatives, the negative effects of potentially stricter laws were debated, which would further restrict civil society in the Palestinian territories.

Finally, the delegation participated in a workshop organized by FES and its partner organization Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development, which focused on the critical lack of fresh water supply in the Gaza Strip.

During their visit to the Gaza Strip, the delegation from Berlin received insights into FES’ projects on the ground and discussed the socio-economic and political situation in the Gaza Strip.