EU staff sign letter expressing concerns over its handling of Gaza crisis

EU staff sign letter expressing concerns over its handling of Gaza crisis

More than 200 signatories cite the European Union's “persistent apathy” towards the plight of the Palestinians and demand an official call for a ceasefire.

More than 200 staff from EU institutions and agencies have signed a letter expressing “increasing concern” over the bloc's response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, arguing that it goes against its fundamental values ​​and its objective of promoting peace.

The letter, signed by 211 people in their personal capacity as citizens and addressed to the EU's three highest officials, begins by condemning the October 7 attacks “in the strongest possible terms.”

Citing the International Court of Justice's January ruling that there was a credible risk to Palestinians under the Genocide Convention, the letter warns that “the EU's continued apathy in the face of for the Palestinians” risks normalizing a world order in which the simple use of force, rather than a rules-based system, determines the security, territorial integrity and political independence of a state. »

“It was precisely to avoid such a sinister world order that our grandparents, witnesses to the horrors of the Second World War, created Europe,” the letter reads. “To stand idly by in the face of such an erosion of the international rule of law would be to fail the European project as they had envisioned it. This cannot happen in our name. »

The letter, communicated exclusively to Guardianwas written by a small group of employees, said Zeno Benetti, one of the organizers.

“We couldn't believe that our leaders, who spoke so loudly about human rights and described Europe as the beacon of human rights, were suddenly so silent in the face of the unfolding crisis in Gaza,” he said. “It’s like we’re suddenly being asked to turn a blind eye to our values ​​and the values ​​we were supposed to work for. And for us, that was not acceptable.”

Organizers hoped to get 100 signatures, a figure that was quickly exceeded as the letter spread. A version of the letter made public Friday does not mention the names of the signatories, the organizers having promised them confidentiality.

The letter highlights the many NGOs who have repeatedly called for a ceasefire, and adds: “The EU's failure to respond to these increasingly desperate calls is in stark contradiction to the values that the EU defends and that we defend. »

It urges the EU to officially call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, adding this to a list of demands that includes officially calling for the release of all hostages and ensuring that member states end direct and indirect arms exports to Israel.

Mr. Benetti stressed that the initiative was not intended to be pro-Palestinian, nor to take a partisan position on the conflict. “Rather, we signed because we believe that what is happening jeopardizes principles of international law that we consider important and that we take for granted,” he said.

The letter is expected to be delivered on Friday to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, as well as Roberta Metsola, president of the European Parliament, and Charles Michel, who heads the European Council.

The demonstration comes weeks after more than 100 EU staff marched in Brussels to protest Israel's war in Gaza. “We are coming together peacefully to defend the rights, principles and values ​​on which the European institutions are based,” European Commission staffer Manus Carlisle told Reuters at the time.

Ashifa Kassam is the Guardian's correspondent for European Community affairs.

Source: The Guardian

ED translation for the Palestine Media Agency