Middle East Monitor / January 20, 2020
Israeli police on Thursday detained five Finnish citizens, including a member of parliament, for allegedly attempting to cross the fence separating Israel and the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to local media, Anadolu reports.
The police detained Anna Kontula, a member of the Finnish parliament, and four other humanitarian activists, allegedly for trying to cross the fence in protest over the humanitarian crisis in the enclave, said the daily Haaretz.
“We expect those who visit Israel, and especially public servants, to respect Israeli law,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by the daily.
Meanwhile, the Finnish Embassy in Israel refused to comment on the incident, saying that Kontula acted as a “private person”.
For its part, the High National Authority for March Return and Breaking Siege in Gaza condemned the arrests and expressed solidarity with them.
Palestinians hold weekly demonstrations in which they demand an end to Israel’s 12-year-old blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has shattered the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its 2 million inhabitants of free movement in and out from Gaza and prevented many basic amenities.