Middle East ‚Horror‘: EU Divided on Israel-Gaza War, as European Jews Call for End of Violence

Written by | Thursday, May 20th, 2021

The European Union has said Israel’s rocket attacks against a Gaza Strip international media centre is “extremely worrying.” The comment on Monday (17 May) followed the Israeli bombing raid that laid waste to the offices of the Associated Press (AP), Al-Jazeera and other international media. At the same time, not the EU, but only 26 European countries have urged a ceasefire on Gaza, after Hungary, once again, undermined the required unanimity. This was the lackluster outcome of a EU foreign ministers’ meeting debating on Tuesday (18 May) how to use the 27-nation bloc’s political clout to help diplomatic efforts to end the fighting in the Middle East. “The priority is the immediate cessation of all violence and the implementation of a ceasefire,” EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said in Brussels.
This comes as Hanan Ashrawi, a former top Palestinian official, has slammed the EU and other Western countries for having granted impunity from international sanctions to Israel that has allowed it to create “horror” in Gaza. “There’s constant, constant shelling and bombing – by air, by sea, by land. You have tanks, warships, you have F-16s and so we have, so far, over 180 people killed, more than 50 of them children,” Ashrawi said. Meanwhile, international calls for action have grown as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly said that fighting could end „within several days“, as France has called for a UN security council resolution on the violence and Egypt has urged a brokered end to the fighting between Israel and militants in Gaza. Also Jordan has lobbied intensively for a cessation of violence and has joined a French push at the UN to present a draft resolution that safeguards urgent humanitarian relief.
Israeli airstrikes have so far killed at least 217 Palestinians, including 63 children, and wounded more than 1,400 people in just over a week in the Hamas-run enclave, according to Gaza’s health ministry. The death toll on the Israeli side has risen to 12 after rockets Hamas fired at the southern Eshkol region killed two Thai nationals working in a factory, police said. This has led many Jews across Europe to join forces on the social media to denounce Israeli airstrikes. #NOTINOURNAMES is the social media rally cry of a group of young Italian Jews who are taking a stand against violence in Israel and Palestinian territories, evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and police repression. The group of around 50 signatories to a statement on Facebook want to make it clear that the Israeli government does not speak for all Jews. Na’amod is a movement of British Jews, which has held small rallies across the UK since 10 May against the “occupation of Palestinians,” so that there can be “freedom from violence” for Palestinians and Israelis. Yachad, a non-profit organisation, is another group working to mobilise British Jews in support of a political resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through education, debate and advocacy.

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