On Monday, 22 January 2018, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights welcomed a delegation from the Representative Office of Norway to the Palestinian Authority. Mrs. Hilde Haralstad, Representative, and Mr. Hans Langaker, consultant to the Representative Office, joined Mr. Issam Younis, director of Al Mezan, for a discussion on the situation in the Gaza Strip.
During the meeting, Mr. Younis shared with the two diplomats a detailed overview of the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip, focusing on the impact of the continued blockade, closure of borders, and restriction of movement of people and goods. They also discussed the socioeconomic consequences of the state of the economy in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Younis noted that letting economic de-development continue poses a threat to peace and stability in the region, explaining that the continued closure has been detrimental to the work of traders, contractors and businesspeople, which diminishes opportunities of employment and raises poverty rates throughout the Gaza Strip. Mr. Younis also stressed that the international community must actively defend the cause of human rights and international law and bring the ongoing violations to an end.
Mrs. Haralstad and Mr. Langaker were further briefed on the progress of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement, as obstacles hinder its progress. Yet, reconciliation is important for the cause of human rights and the future of the Palestinian people, and therefore must be supported in order for it to succeed and for the division to be mended.