We write to you from Gaza today: Let us be clear, the Palestinian people expect accountability and action from the European Union

al Qassam Brigades

Caption: Masked youth cadets from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement, march in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis
(Getty)

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, is being bombarded by urgent appeals, the most strongly-worded of which comes from the National and Islamic Forces in Gaza (a coalition formed shortly after the outbreak of the second Intifada), who are rightly outraged by the upcoming EU-Israel Association Council meeting in Brussels, featuring 27 foreign ministers of EU member states as well as the prime minister of Israel, Yair Lapid:

“We call upon the EU to immediately cancel the 3 October meeting and reject the presence of war criminal Yair Lapid and further to abrogate the EU-Israel Association Agreement…. There is no ‘engagement’ with an illegitimate settler colonial project. Instead, there can only be isolation and accountability — including a complete boycott of all Israeli goods and institutions and the beginning of war crimes investigations and prosecutions for Israeli officials — if the EU has any desire to engage positively with supporting justice in Palestine.”

The communique describes Lapid accurately as “the war criminal who recently rained death and destruction upon our Palestinian people and is currently presiding over a string of settler attacks and invasions of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the mass incarceration of thousands of Palestinians, including the imprisonment of over 740 without charge or trial; the ethnic cleansing and displacement of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta; and the daily extrajudicial killings and assassinations taking the lives of our young people throughout occupied Palestine… Let us be clear: we do not accept apartheid and division, settlement and colonialism as a ‘solution’ for our people. We demand justice for all of our Palestinian people, which includes the liberation of all of Palestine and the implementation of the right to return for all Palestinian refugees denied this right for the past 74 years. It is long since past time for the EU to cease the tired rhetoric about the ‘two state solution’ and instead recognize that the only solution for Palestine is justice, decolonization and liberation throughout occupied Palestine, for the Palestinian people who have borne the brunt of colonial war crimes for over a century.”

Palestine Gas
Caption: “Our Gas is our Right”: The occupation continues to steal and plunder our natural resources

They go on to say, “We further express our deep concern about the development of economic ties between the European Union and the Israeli occupation regime, specifically through the development of gas pipelines and natural gas trade, as the EU searches for energy alternatives. Currently, the occupation regime is planning to extract gas from our Gaza Sea under siege as well as threatening Lebanon with the extraction of Lebanese resources. We do not accept for one moment the construction of pipelines for the trade of our stolen and confiscated natural resources to Europe nor the plunder of our national wealth.

The European Union does not have permission to use the resources of the Palestinian people under occupation nor to purchase them from our occupier, and any such gas deal is making the EU a full partner in the illegal plunder of our resources and wealth. Our gas is our right, and it is only the Palestinian people who have the right to determine the future of the gas resources in our seas.”

A September 22nd letter to Borrell by the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP) also calls for “a clear mechanism of accountability” vis-à-vis Israel, stating that an authoritarian state and a “government which controls and subjugates 5 million people under occupation, which arrests and prosecutes children in military courts and which persecutes human rights defenders under the pretext of counter-terrorism law” cannot be an unconditional partner of the European Union. The fear expressed is that the EU’s diplomacy “will forever ruin any prospect for peace in the region” and that the European Commission’s intention announced a week ago to revive the EU-Israel Association Council, dormant since 2013, is nothing less than an implicit approval of all its illegal acts.

By never demanding accountability from Israel, the EU (just like the US, its diplomatic partner on this matter) emboldens Israel to proceed with its illegal activities with impunity. As the EU and its member states clearly intend to shirk their moral, imperative and legal obligation toward the Palestinian people, and as the Palestinian Authority is complicit with Israeli settler-colonialism, it remains for the Palestinian masses and their allies to forge a leadership worthy of the name and cause.

By every measure of justice and common human decency, Palestinians deserve better. Oh, so much better than Abbas and his cringe-worthy sputtering at the UN, so much better than the complicity of the European Union with Israel’s ongoing cold-blooded assassinations, genocide, apartheid and colonial regime.

Masar Badil: The Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement is organizing Palestinians and their supporters in a march in Brussels on Saturday, 29 October, to the European Parliament, in order to demand the end to the EU-Israel Association Agreement, the boycott of Israeli goods and institutions and an end to the siege on Gaza, as part of the March of Return and Liberation.

_____________
Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and whose mother’s side of the family is from Ijzim, south of Haifa. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

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