Prolonging military conflict in Gaza will only result in an escalation of further violence, and the EU must fully assert its influence to bring it to an end, Nessa Childers MEP said today.
Speaking from Strasbourg, in advance of a debate this evening in the European Parliament about the latest spate involving rocket launches from Gaza into Israel and military retaliation, Ms. Childers called for an end to violence on both sides:
“I condemn the rocket attacks into Israeli territory but also the disproportionate use of military force by the Israeli authorities. The spirals of violence and retaliation that periodically emerge in the region lead only to the loss of innocent lives and the reinforcement of radical players on both sides.
“We have seen how counterproductive the blockade of Gaza has proved since 2007. This state of affairs has only served to impose extreme material deprivation on the civilian population, whilst failing to prevent weapons smuggling and profiteering from radical elements.
“This is a form of collective punishment that must be replaced by an internationally brokered mechanism, where the EU can play an important role, as we have seen with a previous EU police cooperation mission in Rafah.
“The death toll in the Gaza strip is now over 200 victims, mostly civilians, many of whom are children. This overwhelmingly demonstrates that Israel has once more failed to show restraint in its response to the rocket attacks.
“This disregard for humanitarian principles is as reprehensible as the indiscriminate targeting of civilians with rockets.
“The best, long-term path to peace and security for both sides is a comprehensive agreement for a two-state solution that allows for a viable Palestinian state. Israel’s continued settlement expansion in the occupied territories only serves to undermine all the fragile work done to reach that outcome.
“Through its close trade and cooperation ties with Israel, the EU can and must exert more pressure on Israel towards a sustainable, long-term solution.
“As the US remains unwilling to take a more balanced approach, we must step into that void rather than allowing preferential ties with Israel to remain unconditional.
“The alternative is to keep paying for essential infrastructure and humanitarian aid, in the wake of every outburst of violence, while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to fester and claim innocent lives against an increasingly dangerous and unpredictable Middle-Eastern backdrop.”