RAMALLAH, JUNE 25 (JMCC) - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has invited his Italian counterpart to lead a European Ministerial delegation to Gaza
The invitation was made during a meeting between Avigdor Lieberman and Franco Frattini in the Italian city of Rome and comes as calls mount for Israel
to ease its three-year blockade
of the territory.
Israeli media said on Friday that Lieberman had suggested Frattini lead a delegation of colleagues including the foreign ministers of France, Britain, Germany and non EU-member Norway to Gaza so that they could see for themselves that the residents were not starving. Read
Frattini has taken note of the Israeli proposal and will give a response after discussing it with his European and international partners, said the Italian Foreign Ministry.
Amid no immediate reacRead tion from Hamas, the Jerusalem Post cited Israeli government sources as saying the visitors would be asked not to meet with Gaza's Islamist rulers. Since imposing the land, sea and air blockade, Israel has in most cases refused to let senior foreign officials cross its border with Gaza.
On Sunday, it refused passage for German Development Minister Dirk Niebel, who wanted to meet representatives of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which cares for Palestine refugees. The Israeli foreign ministry said at the time that opening the doors to visiting ministers would legitimize Hamas rule in the strip.
more at AFP