Israel denounced the outgoing European Union envoy to the Palestinians, after he parachuted over the shores of Gaza to draw attention to the blockade imposed on the strip.
Video clips showed Sven Kuhn van Bergsdorf announcing that he had accomplished “the first parachute flight over Gaza in history.”
The German diplomat added: “When Palestine is free, and Gaza is free, you can do that too.”
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs described this as a “provocative act” serving the propaganda of “extremist groups in Gaza”.
“The diplomat has long forgotten that he represents the European Union and its member states, and continues to represent the Palestinian discourse, as a tool in the hands of the terrorist organizations that control Gaza,” the ministry’s spokesman said in a statement.
Reuters quoted a spokesman for the European Union’s delegation to the Palestinians as saying on Tuesday that the parachute belongs to Mr. Con van Bergsdorf, and that the Israeli authorities were not notified in advance of the “purely local sporting activity.”
At the end of his mission, the European envoy also went for boating in the Mediterranean.
2.1 million people live in Gaza, whose territory does not exceed 40 km in length and 11 km in width.
Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007, and removed the security services of the Palestinian Authority, a year after winning the majority in the Palestinian parliamentary elections.
Then Israel and Egypt imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Gaza, restricting the movement of people and goods. Both countries say the blockade is self-defence.
But the blockade has destroyed the economy in Gaza and turned people’s lives into hell. Human rights organizations say it is collective punishment imposed in violation of international humanitarian law.