– Euro-MPs vote to call for international inquiry – and for end to Gaza blockade
The UK’s Green MEPs have welcomed the adoption of a joint resolution by the European Parliament today condemning last month’s military operation by Israel against a flotilla of humanitarian aid bound for Gaza. The resolution also calls for an end to the Israeli blockade of the territory, which humanitarian agencies describe as a violation of international law and a collective punishment of the Gazan civilian population.
Today’s vote in the Euro-Parliament represents a key stage in the negotiations to decide how the EU should respond to the incident – as well as address the ongoing blockade of Gaza. It comes as Israel indicates it will respond to international pressure by easing the blockade to allow more products into Gaza.
Following the EP vote this afternoon, the South East’s new MEP, Keith Taylor, said:
“I welcome the decision of MEPs from across the political spectrum to support this strong resolution condemning Israel for its unprovoked and disproportionate attacks on the Free Gaza humanitarian aid flotilla.
“The European Parliament has made it clear that this military action marked a breach of international law, and must now be investigated via a ‘prompt, international and impartial’ inquiry. Israel must be held accountable for the tragic loss of life sustained in this incident and for its failure to take its responsibilities to the international community seriously.
“Furthermore, today’s resolution shows in no uncertain terms that the Parliament opposes the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza, which has resulted in a humanitarian crisis and the collective punishment of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the territory. Around 80% of the Gazan population is dependent on food aid, with the Palestinian Territories being the largest third-country recipient of EU funds. I wholeheartedly welcome the pledge made by Binyamin Netanyahu’s office today to allow more supplies into Gaza, but this situation remains inhumane and completely unsustainable: the blockade must be entirely ended.
“The resolution also makes clear that peace will only be possible when rocket attacks on Israel are halted – and warns that those who perpetrate them must face their full responsibility. It also calls for the Israeli sergeant Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by Hamas on Israeli soil, is released immediately. Only under these conditions, combined with an end to the blockade, can there be true progress towards a peaceful two state solution.”
Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, said: “I join my fellow Green MEP, Keith Taylor, in welcoming the European Parliament’s support for a resolution condemning Israel’s brutal attack of a humanitarian flotilla bound for Gaza and calling for an inquiry.
“Crucially, the resolution also urges Israel to immediately end the blockade; a cruel blockade that has resulted in a serious deterioration of sanitary and environment conditions, and empowered extremists. Until Israel finally lifts this unjust measure, thousands of people will continue to be robbed of their human rights.
“In addition, it asks for steps to be taken to ensure the sustainable opening of all the crossing points to and from Gaza. This will allow for the unimpeded flow of humanitarian and commercial goods necessary for civilian reconstruction and help facilitate the two-state solution, which remains the essential basis for lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“I also welcome the resolution’s urgent request that the Council takes steps to convene without delay the EU-Israel Association Council. It is essential that we re-evaluate the EU-Israel Association agreement .The attack on the flotilla is the latest of human rights abuses and there has been no progress on an end to the siege or a stop to the building of settlements on occupied land. The Agreement is not unconditional: that needs to be remembered.”