MacManus accuses Commission of empty rhetoric on Palestine
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has accused the European Commission of empty rhetoric when it comes to Palestine. MacManus’s comments were regarding the European Commission’s response to a parliamentary question he submitted. The Midlands Northwest MEP said:
“I wrote to the European Commission requesting clarity on the sanctions they intended to impose against Israel for its breach of the Geneva Convention. Frequently, Israel blocks the entry of fuel to Gaza, rendering its power plant useless. This runs contrary to the Geneva Convention; which prohibits Israel to render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.”
“In the response to my question, the Commission would only say they were monitoring the situation regarding fuel delivery. Monitoring a situation does zero to aid the population living in appalling conditions in Gaza.”
“The Commission did admit a fundamental change in the political, security and economic situation of Gaza, including the end of the closure and a full opening of the crossing points, is required. However, they deliberately neglected to mention who is response for this.”
“These kinds of linguistic gymnastics, to avoid criticising Israel, are characteristic of the EU’s approach. It prefers to pat itself on the back for delivering some aid to the Palestinian athority, instead of dealing with the root of the problem. By doing so, it allows Israel to distance itself from what is its effective occupation under international law. Israel controls the entry of persons, exit of persons, airspace and delivery of goods to Gaza.”
Speaking today on the 29 November, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, MacManus said, “The Palestinian People continue to live under daily oppression by the Israeli authorities. Already this year, the Israeli’s have destroyed more Palestinian homes than at any time since 2016.”
“Earlier this month, on a single day, forty-one children had their homes destroyed by the Israeli security forces.”
“Demolition is not confined to residential homes. Humanitarian infrastructure, including farming equipment has also been destroyed. Much of this equipment had been funded by EU member states, including Ireland.”
“For all intents and purposes the Israeli government is committed to making it impossible for the Palestinian People to maintain a viable homeland. Currently there are fifty-two Palestinian schools, many co-funded by the EU, that are under threat of demolition.”
MacManus concluded by calling on the commission to take action, “The European Commission must take effective measures to challenge Israel’s stranglehold on the daily lives of the civilian population in Gaza.” ENDS
———- Additional Notes —————
Question for written answer E-005122/2020/rev.1
to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Chris MacManus (GUE/NGL)
Subject: Israel’s actions in contravention of the Geneva Convention
In recent weeks Israel has intensified its blockade of Gaza, banning the entry of fuel to Gaza’s sole power plant. According to Article 54 of the Geneva Convention, it is prohibited for Israel ‘…to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population…’.
By prohibiting fuel deliveries, Israel has rendered Gaza’s power plant useless, and it has done so during a worsening public health crisis in Gaza’s hospitals. What sanctions does Vice-President / High Representative Borrell propose against Israel for its deplorable actions?
Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell
on behalf of the European Commission
Addressing the humanitarian and socioeconomic situation in the Gaza Strip is an immediate priority for the European Union (EU). The Office of the European Union Representative (West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA) and the EU delegation to the State of Israel both have followed very closely the situation of electricity delivery and fuel supply in Gaza. The fuel imports in Gaza have fully resumed since end of August 2020.
The EU continues to call for a fundamental change in the political, security and economic situation of Gaza, including the end of the closure and a full opening of the crossing points.
The EU continues its high-level political and diplomatic engagement with key stakeholders, including Israel, to ensure that the Palestinian Authority receives the necessary support to overcome the crisis.
In parallel, and in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU has prepared a series of measures aimed at strengthening healthcare and at alleviating the socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic in the occupied Palestinian territory through a major assistance. As such, European Development partners (TEAM EUROPE) announced a package of EUR 373 million in May 2020 in response to COVID-19 in Palestine. Part of this overall support will be used to address critical needs in Gaza.
 UNRWA: TheUnited Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.