Statement on European Union by Omar Shabhan – Pal-Think Institute, Gaza

Dr Omar Shabhan spoke in the Peace and Justice Centre Speakers Series in April. This week his statement calling on Hamas to accept a ceasefire was published in El-Resalah newspaper, the official newspaper of Hamas. 

Statement denouncing the position of the European Union on Israeli violence against Gaza Strip 
Monday, November 19, 2012 Gaza
In an official statement released by her office commenting on the current Israeli escalation of hostility against the Gaza Strip, the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, Catherine Ashton,  held the  "Hamas" movement and other Palestinian factions to be responsible for starting the current crisis with Israel, the statement added further that the European Union supports Israel's right to defend itself.

This statement confirms once again that the position of the EU is no different from the U.S. and British positions  which are entirely in-line with that of Israel . This position is grossly inaccurate and characterized by a lack of the minimum necessary information; it does not reflect what actually happened on the ground. Everyone knows that Israel began the current cycle of escalation by assassinating a Hamas leader, Ahmed Jabari,  and his companions on the eve of the signing of a truce between Hamas and Israel that was brokered by Egypt.

Not only does the EU ignore the huge difference in the balance of power, while it stresses the right of the State of Israel to defend itself, it does not address the absolute right of the Palestinian people under occupation to resist the occupier as granted by International Legislation. The European Union pays no reference to the dozens of civilian deaths and injuries, many of them women, children and elderly people - deaths that chilled all humanity. The neither does the European Union refer   to the destruction of dozens of civilian buildings (including buildings whose erection the Europen Union contributed to) and the sabotage of SOA infrastructure.  In fact, recent  Israeli violence against the Gaza Strip has led to the deaths of more than 110 citizens, mostly women and children and the destruction of civilian government buildings including the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Sporting Goods, buildings and the civil administration of the Ministry of Interior  including the Registry of Population which contained historical documents more than a hundred years old dating from the era of the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate which will be impossible to recover .

The position of the European Union (EU) is the position of the unbalanced who look out of one eye but never actually see.  It is the position of a Cyclops.. The European Union in taking such unbalanced positions weakens much of its credibility and significantly affects its observed neutrality. The European Union's position does not encourage a better atmosphere for peace in the region.

Previously the Palestinian people greatly appreciated the EU's support in the areas of development , the  economy, the environment and culture. Palestinians always hoped  the European Union would aspire to play an influential role in the peace process. Palestinian people wish the EU to take a position consistent with international law, which gives the Palestinian people the right to achieve their own destiny in an independent state. They look to the European Union to confirm its position regarding the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip for many  years.

The Arab Spring revolutions occurring in several Arab countries confirm the desire of Arab peoples for fairer and more democratic political systems. The revolutions  should correspond to a parallel spring in the policies of the European Union and the West in general towards the Palestinian cause.

The European Union should strive to activate its political role in the Middle East and to help the Palestinian people to establish an independent state in Jerusalem and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a political entity and a geographical unity.

Omar Shaban, Director, PalThink Center for Strategic Studies, Gaza, Palestine.
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