EU called upon to do more in Gaza

Article published on Jan. 6, 2009
Article published on Jan. 6, 2009
by Katherine Short London, 6th January 2009 Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister, French President Nicholas Sarcozy and Javier Solana, EU Foreign Policy Chief, today met Israel's defence minister, Ehud Barak in Jerusalem. (Photo taken from Flickr user lewisphotography86) However, Javier Solana has publicly admitted an EU "failure of diplomacy" in its response to the situation in Gaza.
This admission of failure comes at a time when many are becoming increasingly dissatisfied and angry at a lack of an effective EU response in Gaza.

EU inaction condemned by Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone, former mayor of London, has written an article in UK newspaper, the Guardian, today deploring EU inaction and arguing that the EU has a duty to act to prevent further innocent civilians being killed. Indeed, it has taken President elect Barack Obama days to even announce that he is "deeply concerned" about the situation in Gaza so it would seem unlikely that the US will issue any effective condemnation against Israel, especially during the last few days of George Bush's presidency.

Livingstone (Photo taken from Flickr user jonmclean)

Letter written condemning EU agreements with Israel

Furthermore, a letter was sent to the Guardian by a long list of prominent people, calling upon the EU to hold Israel to its agreements. It criticised the EU for continuing to uphold its agreements, which currently give Israel "privileged access to European Institutions", while Israel breaches international human rights law and international humanitarian law. In particular, it is clear that Israel is breaching two of the most fundamental codes of war that are proportionality and discrimination between civilians and soldiers.

The letter was signed by people from a wide range of professions such as Green MEP Caroline Lucas, Rt Hon Tony Benn, Stephen Kamlish QC, Comedian Mark Steel and a plethora of academics from top UK Universities. It was also signed by some Israelis such as Nurit Peled-Elhanan who won the Sakharov Prize in 2001. The letter has been published on the same day that Israeli shelling in Gaza killed dozens at a UN run school. Palestinian medics estimate that one fifth of fatal casualties so far have been children. The UN have stated that there have been at least 600 civilians killed since the invasion commenced. (Read the full text of the letter here)

Daily protests are being held outside the Israeli embassy in London from 5.30pm to 7pm. A national protest has been planned for Saturday, commencing at Hyde Park at 12.30 and finishing at the Israeli embassy on High Street Kensington.