The Brussels-based Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) has issued a statement condemning Israel’s latest military actions in Gaza. According to the CEPRstatement:
PRESS RELEASE Brussels/London, March 12, 2012 On Friday night (March 9, 2012) Israeli military forces began an attack on Gaza by air which has so far left at least 18 dead and 50 injured. Israel started its latest assault with the targeted assassination of Zuhair al-Qaissi, the secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), who was killed along with his son-in-law Mahmoud Hanini when their car was hit by a missile. The weekend saw numerous strikes on other targets including locations for Hamas’ Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades and the response from Gaza militants with Qassam rockets reaching southern Israel. At least 95 rockets have fallen in southern Israel since Friday wounding three people, according to the Israeli military as a response to the Israeli assassination of Zuhair al-Qaissi. On Sunday, two rockets hit residential neighbourhoods of Beersheba, damaging a school, a house and several vehicles but causing no injury. A 12-year-old boy playing outside in northern Gaza and a second civilian in his 60s who was guarding a farm, were among the civilians killed by the Israeli attacks. According to the IDF, 23 separate air strikes had been carried out by Monday morning. It should be mentioned that the weekend death and injury toll was the highest since Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s three-week military assault on Gaza just over three years ago. Gaza militants fired more rockets on Monday morning toward the southern Israeli cities of Ashdod and Be’er Sheva, after an overnight IDF strike in Gaza that killed two Islamic Jihad militants and wounded 38 Palestinians, including several children.
The CEPR Web site describes the organizations as follows:
The Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) is an independent not-for-profit organisation which has been established to promote dialogue and understanding between European, Palestinian and Arab parliamentarians and policy-makers. It seeks a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on justice and the restoration of Palestinian rights in accordance with international humanitarian and human rights law.
Despite its claim of independence, the CEPR is headed by Dr. Arafat Shoukri (aka Arafat Madi, Arafat Madi Shoukri) who is also the executive director of the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) in the U.K. The PRC has strong ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood and two PRC directors are also directors of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), generally regarded as part of the UK. Muslim Brotherhood. The PRC is also listed as an affiliate of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) dominated by UK. Muslim Brotherhood groups. PRC activities are frequently promoted by the MAB, MCB, and other U.K Brotherhood organizations. PRC director Ghassan Four is also a Trustee of INTERPAL, a key member of the Union of Good and part of the Muslim Brotherhood Hamas fund-raising network . PRC director Zaher Birawi is a Trustee of Education Aid for Palestine (EAP), also a part of the Union of Good. Mr. Birawi is also head of programming for Al-Hiwar TV which frequently features MB/Hamas individuals and organizations and was founded by Azzam Al-Tamimi, a U.K Muslim Brotherhood leader and close to Hamas. An Israeli web site, known to be close to Israeli military intelligence, has reported that Mr. Birawi, along with another PRC Trustee are “past Hamas operatives who found refuge in Britain in the early nineties.” Dr. Shoukri is also the chairman of the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG) which was the main organizer of the unsuccessful Second Gaza Flotilla and which operates from the same address and has the same telephone as the PRC.
The CEPR appears to operate largely as a lobbying group at the EU and hasaccompanied EU lawmakers on trips to Gaza.