New Telegraph

EU Envoy Paraglides Off Gaza

The outgoing European Union (EU) envoy has paraglided off Gaza’s coast in a rare flight designed to draw attention to the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

A video posted online by the EU delegation to the Palestinians showed Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff floating off a sandy 7 meter (21 foot) cliff and over the Mediterranean sea after an initial struggle to fill his canopy with enough wind.

The impoverished and congested Gaza Stip is kept under a cordon by Israel and Egypt designed to isolate the ruling Islamist militant group, Hamas.

A small airport inaugurated in 1998 during interim peace talks was destroyed three years later by Israeli forces, which regularly intercept rockets, drones and even flammable material carrying balloons launched by Palestinians across the border.

“Once you have a free Palestine, a free Gaza, you can do exactly the same thing,” Von Burgsdorff, who is wrapping up his tenure, said in the video.

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A spokesperson for the EU office in Jerusalem, involved in the flight said it took place on Sunday.

“And that’s the reason why I did this. To show you the way forward. We’ll work for it, okay?” Von Burgsdorff adds.

The paraglider belongs to the envoy, the spokesperson said, suggesting he managed to bring it past border security thanks to his diplomatic immunity.

Von Burgsdorff was 50 meters up in the air for at least five minutes, said the spokesperson who said Israel was not informed of “the purely local and sport activity.”

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