Genocide in Gaza – EU position and Its consequences

EUPAC’s Follow-up: Addressing  Brussels – 06th Dec. 2023

In the wake of the pressing issue of the ongoing genocide in Gaza, Palestine, EUPAC recently conducted a significant press conference at the Press Club in Brussels on November 15, 2023. The primary agenda was to delve into the European perspectives concerning this humanitarian crisis and to explore the multifaceted political, legal, and humanitarian implications.

The Council undertook the responsibility of disseminating the outcomes of this pivotal press conference to over 700 European parliamentarians and ministers. The aim was to articulate and convey the collective legal, political, and humanitarian viewpoints derived from the discussions at the conference regarding the European stance vis-à-vis the grave crime of genocide perpetrated by the Israeli occupation in Gaza.

Distinguished lawyers and jurists, possessing specialized expertise in international and European law, lent their insights to the discourse at this crucial conference. Notable among them were French lawyer Abdelmadjid Mrari, a representative of AFD International and the Legal Alliance for Palestine, comprising a formidable alliance of over 600 legal professionals. Additionally, the conference witnessed the participation of Belgian lawyer Jan Fermon, representing the International Union of Democratic Lawyers, and Belgian lawyer Isa Goultasaar,. Alongside these luminaries, Professor Naji Haraj, who serves as the director executive of the International Justice Center in Geneva also contributed his expertise to the discussions.

The legal experts, emphasizing the gravity of the situation, shared a compelling legal message during the conference. Their collective expertise and insights underscored the pressing need for a coherent and robust response to address the complexities of the situation at hand. While the specific legal message conveyed during the conference has yet to be officially disclosed, it has been recognized as a pivotal contribution to understanding the legal ramifications in this challenging scenario.

European Stance on Gaza: A Call for Legal Accountability and Humanitarian Action

Recent developments in Gaza have prompted urgent calls for attention from global communities, particularly in Europe. Addressing what is deemed as crimes against humanity and premeditated genocide, legal experts and activists have raised concerns about the European Union’s stance and its implications under international law.

At a press conference in Brussels, key points were highlighted by a coalition led by prominent French lawyer Gilles de Vere. This alliance comprises 620 lawyers dedicated to collecting evidence, preparing legal documents, and filing complaints against individuals involved in crimes, including Israelis, dual nationals, and associated partners.

The European Union and its member states bear legal responsibilities due to their political positions, which are perceived as violations of international law. According to legal experts, international law doesn’t grant a state occupying another people the right to self-defense, especially against resistance by the occupied. This right, they assert, belongs to states facing aggression from external forces, not from populations under occupation—a principle recognized in International Criminal Court decisions dating back to 2004.

Highlighting Europe’s alignment with the American position and its isolation on the international stage, legal representatives stressed the need for Europe to adhere strictly to international law without compromising its political integrity.

Moreover, legal obligations were underscored for the European Union and its member states to intervene, prevent war crimes, prosecute perpetrators, and ensure justice—a binding obligation per international agreements.

The coalition urged civil society organizations and European politicians to utilize legal channels to question individuals who visited areas associated with crimes but neglected crucial information in favor of politically supporting Israeli war criminals. This manipulation of information led to extensive loss of life, injuries, forced displacement, and destruction of infrastructure and institutions tied to international organizations.

In response to European inaction, Palestinians of European origin who suffered losses in Gaza are encouraged to initiate legal procedures against perpetrators, including those holding dual nationalities, engaged in crimes in Palestine.

Naji Haraj, leading a coalition of fifty human rights institutions, urged the EU and its governments to take decisive action to stop the conflict, halt support for the Israeli occupation, end crimes, and hold perpetrators accountable. Haraj warned that failure to do so would erode trust in international law and organizations, potentially leading to more global atrocities.

Acknowledging Europe’s double standards and its economic interests in the region, Johan Wick, a European policy advisor, emphasized the need to denounce the crimes committed against Palestinians and urged the punishment of the occupying forces.

The European community’s divisions and political parties’ internal discord indicate that the current stance, devoid of formal condemnation and sanctions against Israeli war crimes, doesn’t align with the European majority’s will, international law, or agreements with the Israeli government.

European Stance’s Impact on Palestinians and Europeans: Urgent Calls for Accountability

The European Union’s stance regarding the Palestinian crisis has not only shaped the geopolitical landscape but has also had profound ramifications for both Palestinians in Gaza and European citizens of Palestinian origin. Regrettably, European positions have inadvertently led to an increase in Israeli crimes, facilitated by the perpetrators’ access to weaponry supported by European entities. This complicity has resulted in the deaths, injuries, and displacement of tens of thousands

of Palestinians, including European citizens of Palestinian descent. Determined to seek justice, they vow to pursue legal avenues to hold both the perpetrators and their European partners accountable for these heinous crimes.

During the press conference, Muhammad Halalo and Khaled Sabah, Belgian citizens of Palestinian origin, recounted the heartbreaking loss of their family members and property in Gaza. They underscored the profound and far-reaching consequences of these atrocities on their families’ social, psychological, and material well-being in Belgium.

Presenting a comprehensive political vision paper, the European-Palestinian Council, led by CEO Majed Al-Zeer, outlined critical demands based on the severity of the crimes committed, European reactions, and the legal assessment of these reactions.

These demands include an immediate ceasefire, the lifting of the 17-year siege on Gaza, utilizing all available means within Europe to end the occupation, holding war criminals and accomplices accountable for the genocide in Gaza, and establishing new European positions in alignment with international law and human rights.

There exist legitimate tools within the European Union’s reach that could be employed to pressure the occupying state and prevent these grave crimes. These tools encompass economic agreements mandating respect for human rights and political and legal mechanisms aimed at preventing the commission of such crimes and penalizing their perpetrators.

The pressing question remains: Does the European Union possess the genuine will to halt these crimes against Palestinians? Or is it concealing crucial facts, such as the Israeli army’s actions on October 7th, limitations on aid reaching Gaza due to occupation, and the identity of those responsible for hospital massacres, all while failing to officially condemn Israeli crimes and demand an immediate cessation of the war?

Revisiting outdated ideas, like the two-state solution, lacks viability without tangible steps rooted in enforceable international resolutions. Palestinians have lost confidence in these ideas, as they have allowed the occupation to persist in its violations without any accountability. Mere suggestions and pledges fall short of addressing the urgent need for a complete end to the occupation, the return of refugees, and non-interference in Palestinian affairs—a bare minimum for resolution in this protracted conflict.

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