The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said on February 1, 2012 that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s visit to Gaza is not a serious step towards acting or even recognizing the suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, saying that Ki-Moon’s refusal to meet with refugee and right of return committees, families of prisoners, and victims of the siege shows blatant disregard of the rights and suffering of the Palestinian people.
It was announced, said the Front, that Ban Ki-Moon will visit the Gaza Strip on February 2, 2012, to see the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Strip and to visit projects of the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA). However, the UN office in both Gaza and the West Bank has hand-picked a limited number of figures to meet him and talk to him, excluding refugee and right of return organizations, prisoners’ families organizations, groups of victims of the crimes of the occupation and representatives of civil society organizations.
The Front pointed out that this comes in the direct context of the United Nations ignoring its responsibilities toward the rights and suffering of the Palestinian people, and called for the visit to be extended and meetings arranged with representative sectors of Palestinian society to meet with the Secretary-General to reflect the reality of the Palestinian situation.
Comrade Rabah Muhanna, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP, said that “The refusal of the visit’s organizers to allow Ban Ki-Moon to meet with representatives of these sectors mean that this visit is a sham and a false facade meant to obscure the reality, which is that the UN has not acted according to its charter and its own resolutions to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and enforce Palestinian rights, including especially, the right of refugees to return.” Muhanna said that the UN is a “direct cause of the suffering of the Palestinian people, from the Nakba to the present day.”
Human rights activists in Gaza invited to the meeting have turned down invitations to the meeting unless representatives of refugee organizations, prisoners’ associations and others, are invited, including Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights director Essam Younis and civil society organizer Amjad al-Shawa.