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EU staffers criticise von der Leyen’s ‘uncontrolled’ help of Israel | Israel-Palestine battle Information


Brussels, Belgium – As Gaza is relentlessly bombed by Israel, greater than 800 EU officers have written to the bloc’s chief, Ursula von der Leyen, criticising her “uncontrolled” help of Israel.

The signatories of the letter, which Al Jazeera has seen, say they “hardly recognise the values of the EU”, claiming there’s a “seeming indifference demonstrated over the previous few days by our establishment in the direction of the continued bloodbath of civilians within the Gaza Strip, in disregard for human rights and worldwide humanitarian regulation”.

They are saying they’re saddened by the Fee’s “double requirements”, because it considers the blockade of Ukraine by Russia as an act of terror, whereas Israel’s blockade of Gaza is “fully ignored”.

“If Israel doesn’t cease instantly, the entire Gaza Strip and its inhabitants can be erased from the planet,” the letter learn.

“We urge you [von der Leyen] to name, along with the leaders of the entire Union, for a ceasefire and for the safety of civilian life. That is on the core of the EU existence,” they mentioned, warning “the EU dangers dropping all credibility”.

The letter represents deep divisions throughout the bloc on methods to method the Israel-Gaza conflict, which in lower than two weeks has killed 1000’s of individuals.

The European Fee’s “latest unlucky actions or positions appear to offer a free hand to the acceleration and the legitimacy of a conflict crime within the Gaza Strip”, the letter mentioned.

In Gaza, greater than 4,000 Palestinians have been killed, lots of them youngsters.

“We might have been proud if the European Union … had referred to as for a right away cessation of hostilities and indiscriminate violence towards civilians,” the letter learn.

The decision on von der Leyen follows different indicators of political friction within the West, with reviews that US diplomats are getting ready a “dissent cable” on the Center East conflict, a doc criticising Washington’s coverage that goes to State Division leaders.

The European Fee mentioned it was conscious of the letter and is able to interact with employees members and European residents to know their views.

“The President has mentioned on a number of events that ‘there isn’t a contradiction in standing in solidarity with Israel and performing on the humanitarian wants of the Palestinian individuals,’” a Fee spokesperson instructed Al Jazeera.

“She has additionally mentioned, ‘There will be no hesitation on our [EU] aspect: Europe will at all times be on the aspect of humanity and of human rights.’”

An EU supply, who requested anonymity, instructed Al Jazeera that the letter was unlikely to alter EU coverage, “but it surely exhibits the rising divide between many employees members who wish to see worldwide regulation utilized throughout the globe”.

Von der Leyen, the European Fee president, is at present in the USA for an EU-US Summit.

“We stand for peace and prosperity. Supporting Ukraine in its battle for freedom. Standing by Israel and addressing humanitarian wants within the area,” she mentioned on Thursday.

‘They thought it could be a Ukraine second’

A second EU supply instructed Al Jazeera that dissent is rising as a result of von der Leyen’s staff “seems to have fully misinterpret the scenario”.

“They – her and her closest advisers – thought that this [Israel-Hamas war] could be a Ukraine second, and so they should condemn the terrorists and win the ethical argument. However I believe they’ve simply been purely unaware of the dimensions of oppression Palestinians have skilled, and the widespread understanding of the battle as this being a violent response to occupation,” the official instructed Al Jazeera.

Von der Leyen is “nonetheless morally scuffling with methods to take a stance”, the official mentioned, including that her place from now could be more likely to rely upon diplomatic efforts “on the worldwide scale and what US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says”.

“[Her] staff try to regulate their line and acknowledge that they misinterpret the scenario. They’re attempting to write down a story the place they’ll nonetheless be seen as staunch allies of Israel, but additionally as a diplomatic pressure within the area, whereas attempting to take care of some stage of credibility vis a vis the conflict Ukraine,” the official mentioned.

“However on this case, it seems just like the People would be the adults within the room,” the official added.

Just a few streets away from the European Fee, the same sense of anger has been brewing amongst some staffers on the European Parliament, led by Roberta Metsola.

“To see two of the three presidents [von der Leyen and Metsola] all of the sudden in Israel, standing shoulder to shoulder with a regime which is killing civilians was fairly stunning,” a Parliament official, who requested anonymity, instructed Al Jazeera.

“How has Macklemore taken a extra humane stance than the European Fee?” they mentioned, referring to the American rapper and singer who has referred to as for a “ceasefire in Israel” and in addition a “Free Palestine”.

In the meantime, the EU’s high diplomat, Josep Borrell, has received reward amongst some staffers who assume he has a extra nuanced stance in the direction of the present scenario in Gaza; all through the most recent conflict, he has usually referred to as for each the discharge of Israeli hostages in Gaza and for assist to be hurried into the besieged strip on brink of collapse.

Kristina Kausch, a Madrid-based senior fellow on the German Marshall Fund of the USA, mentioned “inconsistencies” present a glimpse into the “deep splits throughout the EU on this battle”.

Over the previous decade, she added, on the Israel-Palestine crises, the 27 nations of the bloc “have barely managed to place out any frequent statements”.

In consequence, EU coverage on the Israel-Palestine file, a key benchmark for the EU’s effectiveness as a world actor, “has been helplessly stalled”, she mentioned.

On Thursday, on the European Parliament headquarters in Strasbourg, members adopted a decision calling for a “humanitarian pause” within the newest Israel-Gaza conflict.

However officers instructed Al Jazeera of extra divisions – akin to debates over whether or not “ceasefire” or “pause” needs to be used for the decision.

One official identified that the decision made no point out of the Israeli occupation or the blockade on Gaza.

A fourth EU official Al Jazeera spoke to described a tense ambiance throughout the establishment, with many feeling ashamed to work for the bloc.

“For my technology of staff, ‘By no means Once more’ really means one thing,” they mentioned. “We bear in mind 9/11 and many people protested the conflict in Iraq. So I believe lots of people had been horrified when von der Leyen and Metsola appeared to supply a carte blanche to Israel, apparently in our identify. It feels just like the area to specific solidarity with Palestinians is shrinking.

“The conflation of Jewish individuals and the state of Israel can be an issue … The dearth of range of each Jewish and Muslim individuals working for the EU doesn’t assist.”



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