In reaction to the one-sided violence on Black Monday, May 14, 2018, on which Palestinians in Gaza protested against the relocation of the American embassy and the Israeli military killed 52 protesters, wounding over 2000, while at the same time not a single Israeli was injured by the protesters.
14 May ought to mark the start of the process that will lead to the international community finally taking an unequivocal stance against the Israeli military’s consistently disproportionate use of violence in the decades-long tragedy that is the Israel-Palestine conflict. At the time of writing, the Israeli military has killed 52 Palestinians, including minors, and has wounded thousands at the border with Gaza. Hundreds of them were targeted with live ammunition.
The people at the receiving end of this brutal violence are demonstrating against the relocation of the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a city it has recognised as the Israeli state’s capital, despite the international outcry that this decision sparked. Instead, adding insult to injury, the US ambassador hailed the move as the result of “the vision, the courage and the moral clarity of one person to whom we owe an enormous, an eternal debt of gratitude, President Donald J Trump.”
Caught between the violence of the Israeli military, and the criminal irresponsibility of the American government, all countries have a clear mandate to not only unreservedly condemn any deployment of military against a demonstration, but to take active steps to distance themselves politically and financially from the Israeli government until it agrees to uphold international standards in how to deal with dissent. Further they should insist that Israel pursues a peaceful and fair resolution of the conflict with Palestine. This dedication should be demonstrated, at minimum, through the following conditions:
- The immediate end to all settlement creation on occupied Palestinian territory, which has been repeatedly condemned by the international community
- The end of all types of violence against peaceful demonstrators, an obvious precondition for any healthy democratic nation and society
- The ending of the blockade of the Gaza strip, which is causing untold suffering to the world’s third most densely populated area
- The demolition of the Israeli West Bank barrier, which amounts to racial segregation and violates international law
Our countries must condemn the Israeli government’s systemic violence towards the Palestinians as well as an American and European foreign policy that is blatantly guided by cynical geopolitical goals in the region, for the sake of which the justice of the Palestinian cause, and the human rights of the Palestinians, are willingly sacrificed.
If Europe is serious about being a force for peace and justice in the world, it must lead this process.
Result: a United Nations resolution was passed with the support of 12 EU member states, 16 EU member states abstaining and 0 against. Other reactions: Amnesty International, B’Tselem.
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