Although the formal debate on the Palestine-Israel conflict has not yet taken place, different voices within the European Parliament have criticized the institution’s position regarding Israel’s attacks on Gaza, after several leaders showed their support for Israel after the Hamas offensive: “A Palestinian life is not worth less than a Ukrainian one”; “Parliament must send a clear message that all war crimes are unacceptable,” say some MEPs in the Chamber.
During the debate session scheduled this Monday, different MEPs took the opportunity to put on the table the position of the European Union on the conflict between Palestine and Israel, which already leaves thousands of fatalities. Following the Hamas attack, Israel has responded by laying siege to the Gaza Strip, cutting off supplies and forcing civilians to flee the area. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of Parliament, Roberta Metsola, have shown their support for the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, which has sparked criticism that continues to multiply in recent days.
One of those criticisms comes from Manu Pineda (United Left), the head of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Palestine. “Israel is bombing the civilian population of Gaza,” he began from the bench. Pineda has indicated that the Netanyahu Government has “imposed an absolutely illegal siege regime,” blocking supplies.
“President [de Israel] “The one you met last week to give him your support has said that it is a total war,” the MEP added about the meeting that both Metsola and Von der Leyen had with Isaac Herzog to show him their support. “You have met with him to give him your support but you cannot do it in the name of this parliament,” he added. According to Pineda, parliament must debate the situation in the area, “a situation that is a holocaust on the Palestinian population.” “We cannot hold minutes of silence for the Israeli victims and not do it for the Palestinians.”
Another intervention along the same lines during the debate entitled ‘The despicable terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel, Israel’s right to defend itself in accordance with humanitarian and international law and the humanitarian situation in Gaza’, was that of the politician Marc Botenga, of the Belgian Labor Party. In his statement, Botenga has been in favor of condemning the Hamas attack but has recalled that, “since then, Israeli attacks on Gaza have killed 725 children.” “The UN special envoy for the occupied territories has said that, in the name of self-defense, Israel may try to justify what would amount to ethnic cleansing. “We have seen Israeli government officials speak in that direction,” he added.
The MEP from the left group has also targeted the president of the Commission: “Ursula von der Leyen has not even asked Israel for the most basic things: for example, respect for international humanitarian law. Parliament needs to send a clear message that all war crimes are unacceptable. Be it in the name of Israel, be it in the name of Hamas. A Palestinian life is not worth less than a Ukrainian one,” she concluded.
Mick Wallace, MEP for The Left, also spoke about the children killed in the conflict. “According to United Nations data, 545 children were killed in Ukraine in 500 days of war. Data coming from Gaza say that up to a thousand children have been murdered in ten days by apartheid carried out by Israel. And our president of the European Commission and the president of the European Parliament went to Israel to support the Israeli attack on the Palestinians. “European leaders have become complicit in Israel’s war crimes,” she said from her seat.