08/07/2011

The EU does not assume

In recent days, two citizens’ actions have brought the Palestinian issue to the front of the news. A second fleet of Liberty was first tried to leap into Gaza to break the Israeli blockade on the Palestinian population. Then, this Friday July, 8, 600 activists have decided to fly together to Tel Aviv to call attention to the restrictions on access imposed by Israel on the rest of the Palestinian territory, that is to say East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Far from finding support from the EU, these actions have only met a disturbing silence, even clear brakes.

A week ago, Greece announced that it would not let second flotilla leave to Gaza. The press revealed at the same time joint air exercises of Israeli and Greek armies. Weakened Greece has bowed to Israeli pressure. On Friday, it is through the air that activists tried to reach the Palestinian territories responding to the invitation issued by fifteen Palestinian NGOs. Israel used the same method as for the fleet: the pressure so that the control and restriction of passage is performed by others, namely here the airlines.

Greece and the airlines seem to endorse the passage restrictions imposed by Israel, and even help them. And during that time, the EU said nothing.

The silence of the EU speaks for itself. Certainly it would be amazing to see the EU openly supporting the fleet. But judging at the last Quartet statement dated of July 2, the latter has even decided this time to side with Israel:  » The Quartet regrets the injury and deaths caused by the 2010 flotilla, urges restraint and calls on all Governments concerned to use their influence to discourage additional flotillas, which risk the safety of their participants and carry the potential for escalation ». Let us remind that the first provocation is the blockade imposed by Israel and not the fleet!

To add a soupcon of absurdity, yet Ashton recalled Wednesday afternoon at the European Parliament that she stressed “the need to get the crossings – to the Gaza Strip – open”. The EU position is clear on the subject, but these words are vain. The EU and its Member States have never taken any action to pressure Israel to lift the blockade.

If the EU and its member states do nothing, that they also do prevent their citizens to act, what remains, then, as a possible action to end the blockade? It is due to the EU to judge and to answer.

Nathalie Janne d’Othée