July 22, 2014
To High Representative Ashton, Pierre Vimont, Christian Berger, Permanent Representatives and Political Advisors. c.c. Leonello Gabrici, Helga Schmid
Dear High Representative Ashton et al,
The Israeli ground invasion of Gaza continues. The casualty toll now stands at 500+ killed and thousands wounded. Although leaders in the international community (including the EU) have called for a cease-fire, no concrete steps have been taken to stop the escalating Israeli attack. According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the population of an occupied territory falls under the responsibility of the occupier. Therefore, the population of Gaza is legally under the protection of Israel, a responsibility which the Israeli government is disavowing in blatant violation of international law.
On July 15th the Hamas party issued its offer for a 10-year ceasefire with Israel, vowing to end rocket fire against Israel in exchange for Israel lifting the siege from the Gaza Strip, and for Israel to keep it pledge to release the Palestinian prisoners who were freed in the October 2011 prisoner exchange, many of whom have been re-arrested by Israel without new charges.
The Israeli government justified the cruel siege against Gaza, and the periodic bombardments and ground invasions of Gaza with only one reason – the rocket fire from Gaza against Israel. Here Hamas has officially offered to end hostilities for ten years, and the Israeli government responded by launching a ground invasion, intensifying the bombings and keeping the siege in place. This is clear proof that the Israeli government is following a policy driven by concerns other than the protection of its citizens.
After many decades of close relationships between Israel and Europe (through the EU as well as through its member states), Europe bears a partial responsibility for the situation in the Middle East, for Israel’s policies and for enfolding tragedy. The Israeli economy depends on its trade with Europe (its largest trading partner) and Israeli soldiers invading Gaza are armed with many European-made weapons. The EU maintains excellent relations with Israel, but not with the Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
We call on the EU to ensure that the EU is not complicit in the Israeli violations of international law. All military cooperation with Israel must cease, and an arms embargo must be placed upon Israel, until such time that Israel will become compliant with international law.
The Palestinians under the current Israeli attack, which has taken the lives of more than 500 people, did not call on international military intervention to protect them. They do, however, call on the international community to refrain from aiding Israel’s violence against them. As Europeans and as Jews, we demand that our governments will not assist indirectly this illegal and vicious onslaught.
Dror Feiler, Chair, EJJP; Spokesperson, Ship to Gaza; Judar for Israelisk-Palestinsk Fred (Stockholm)
Arthur Goodman, Parliamentary and Diplomatic Officer, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (London)
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