On Tuesday, 20 April 2021, Mr. Kees van Baar, the Representative of the Netherlands to the Palestinian Territories, and Mr. Maurits Oskam, First Secretary of Political Affairs and Human Rights, visited Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Al Mezan) and met with its General Director, Mr. Issam Younis. The next day, 21 April 2021, Mr. Younis met with Mr. Don Sexton, Representative of Ireland in Palestine, and Deputy Representative Ms. Aoife Lyons.
In the meetings, the Dutch and Irish representatives, and Mr. Younis, discussed the humanitarian conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in light of the recent developments, most notably the upcoming general elections, to be held on 22 May 2021. Mr. Younis stressed that the elections raise great expectations regarding the resolution of the intra-Palestinian political divide and urged Member States of the European Union to support the electoral process, including by taking action to ensure the participation of Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem.
Mr. Younis also highlighted the devastating repercussions of Israel’s 13-year blockade and closure of the Gaza Strip, which continues unabated despite the pandemic, noting that Israel’s pervasive impunity and lack of accountability allow for incessant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law violations in the oPt.