The director of a children’s charity in Gaza has been unable to travel to Ireland to address a conference on Palestine later this week due to Israeli security restrictions and the closure of the Rafah access to Egypt. Dr Mona El Farra, the projects director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance and deputy chair of the Red Crescent Society in Gaza, has unsuccessfully attempted to leave Palestine on a number of occasions in recent days in order to attend the conference in Liberty Hall, Dublin, on Saturday next, 28th March. According Dr El Farra, she has tried unsuccessfully to leave Gaza on a number of occasions but has been unable to leave through the Rafah checkpoint on the Egyptian border. “I applied for a visa to the Israeli authorities but they refused for ‘security reasons’ even though I am not involved in any militant resistance and all my activities are peaceful. The Israeli authorities will not explain what the ‘security reasons’ are.” she said. “The Rafah crossing has been closed for most of the time and there are many thousands trying to get out of Gaza through Egypt. I have applied for an exit but there seems to be little hope that I can make it to the conference in Dublin unless someone in authority intervenes.” Dr El Farra holds joint Palestinian and British citizenship and is recognised as the leading spokesperson and advocate for thousands of children in Gaza who were injured and traumatised in the Israeli military assault on the city in July and August last year, and in previous years. The conference will be addressed by Sabri Saidam a former minister and advisor to President Abbas in the west Bank and Ahmad Abdelrazek, the Palestinian ambassador in Ireland. The President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, John Douglas, and the general president of SIPTU, Jack O’Connor, will also address the conference which will discuss the theme: “Where now for the two state solution?” The conference has been organised by the SIPTU Global Solidarity Committee and will take place in Liberty Hall, Dublin from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Saturday. Solidarity groups and charities operating in Palestine are expected to attend the conference which is also open to the general public.