Chomsky in First Visit to Gaza: End the Blockade

The Jewish-American intellectual and staunch critic of Israel is in Gaza to attend a conference at Gaza's Islamic University over the weekend.

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Jewish-American linguist Noam Chomsky traveled to the Gaza Strip on Thursday to attend a conference at Gaza's Islamic University. Chomsky called on Israel to put an end to the blockade on the Hamas-ruled costal enclave, the French news agency AFP reported. Chomsky entered the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian side of the Rafah Crossing as a member of an academic delegation that is scheduled to partake in a conference at the Islamic University over the weekend. This is Chomsky's first visit to Gaza.

According to Jamal Khudari, a member of Gaza's legislative council and head of the Islamic University's administrative staff, Chomsky said that "The Palestinian people have a right to live peacefully and in freedom."

In a broadcast from the university on Palestinian television Chomsky said "Our trip to Gaza was very difficult, but we arrived here and I saw several things which I hoped before to see."

Khudari told AFP that Chomsky is scheduled to lector at the university on the Arab Spring and foreign policy in the Middle East on Saturday, as well as, meet with members of several Palestinian human rights organizations.

"We organized a program for him to tour refugee camps," Khudari told AFP.

Chomsky, 84 is a professor emeritus at the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT and one of the most influential intellectual figures alive today. He spent a few months in the 1950s in Kibbutz Hazorea, in the Western Jezreal Valley. He is known as a staunch critic of Israeli and American foreign policy.

In 2010, he was barred entry to Israel when he tried to enter from Jordan en route to lector in a university in Ramallah. Israel's refusal to allow Chomsky to travel to the West Bank received considerable coverage in the foreign press and blogosphere.

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