Tunisian foreign minister to visit Gaza on Saturday
AFP, Friday 16 Nov 2012
Tunisian Foreign Minister to visit Gaza following Israeli attacks on the strip; President Moncef Marzouki spoke with Hamas PM Ismail Haniyah

Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem will visit Gaza on Saturday, the presidency said, in a statement denouncing Israel's "barbaric aggression" on the Palestinian enclave.

"The presidency of the republic has informed the president of the government in Gaza that a high-level delegation headed by the foreign minister and including the (Tunisian) president's chief of staff will be sent to Gaza tomorrow," it said.

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki spoke with Ismail Haniyeh, the Islamist premier of Gaza to "learn the latest developments on the ground in Gaza, which has been subject to Israeli aggression for several days," the statement said.

He expressed "Tunisia's solidarity with the struggle of the Palestininian people" and denounced "a barbaric aggression by Israeli aviation" and the "international silence that encourages such injustice."

Marzouki also called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council and adoption of the "necessary sanctions against Israel."

Ruling party Ennahda and several others are demanding that the "criminalisation of normalised relations" with Israel be written into the country's new constitution.

Tunisia has had close links with the Palestinians for years, hosting the Palestine Liberation Organisation between 1982 and 1994 after it was expelled from Lebanon.

Tunisian political party Wafa announced in early November that it had filed charges against Israeli agents for assassinating the PLO's then number two, Abu Jihad, in a raid on the movement's Tunis headquarters in 1988, accusing them of "war crimes."