140+ organisations call on EU leaders to act against Israel’s war crimes & to prioritise the Palestinian people’s fight against genocide & apartheid!

Dear EU political leaders,

We write to you as a collective of civil society organisations committed to the principles of peace,
democracy, decolonisation, and anti-imperialism. We call for immediate and ethical action by
the EU to prioritise the Palestinian people’s fight against genocide and to cooperate with
Palestinians and international partners, including those from the Global South, to prepare the
ground for lasting peace and human security for Palestinians and Israelis alike, in full recognition of
long-standing Palestinian demands to reclaim indigenous life and land.

The latest cycle of violence in Israel/Palestine is a horrific but inevitable consequence of a long and
entangled history of European totalitarianism, Israeli settler colonialism, British imperialism,
US hegemony, and the intentional derailing of a just peace process enabled by the silence of the EU,
the US and the UK. While we grieve every civilian life lost equally, Palestinians have been, and
continue to be, the oppressed group under this apartheid structure of power. As outlined by
Jewish Voice for Peace, ‘The root of violence is oppression.’[1]

Since 7 October, EU institutions and some national governments have expressed their solidarity
with Israel (only) and its right to “defend itself” with impunity, even projecting Israeli flags on EU
buildings. Such actions have systematically erased Palestinian people’s voices and rights and
ignored a long history of Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid that lie at the root of this
cycle of violence.

European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen and European Parliament President Roberta
Metsola visited Israel on 14 October 2023, once again expressing their unreserved solidarity with
Israel on behalf of the European Union as Israel imposed a total blockade on the Gaza Strip, cutting
off fuel, water, energy, and food supplies in violation of international human rights standards. On 17
October 2023, von der Leyen stated that “There is no contradiction in standing in solidarity with
Israel and acting for the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians.”[2] This response can only be
understood as full EU complicity in Israeli war crimes against Palestinians, including
collective punishment and genocide.

It exposes the EU’s double standards in its foreign policy as it fails to stand for the people of Gaza as
it has done for Ukraine against Russian aggression and similar acts of terror. In the long term, this
will only undermine the EU’s democracy and its international credibility.

It has also legitimised state violence to repress those standing up for Palestinian rights, and
encouraged a surge in Islamophobic, racist attacks and violence against Palestinian activists and
allies, including Jewish activists against apartheid, in Europe, Jerusalem, the West Bank, Israel, and
across the world. The EU’s belligerent rhetoric has contributed to a cultural climate leading to a rise
in hate crimes against Muslims, Arabs, and Jews in Europe.

We condemn the dominant EU political response to the war crimes in the occupied territories and
the genocide taking place in Gaza. We welcome the few political leaders that have opposed it.[3] We
call on EU institutions and EU Member States to prioritise the Palestinian people’s fight
against genocide and apartheid by:

  1. Ceasefire: Calling for an immediate ceasefire;
  2. Humanitarian aid: Firmly pressuring Israel, the Occupying Power, to respect its obligations
    under international law and to lift the illegal siege on Gaza and restore access to water,
    electricity, and fuel; and immediately responding to the humanitarian needs and calls for aid
    by Palestinians, including ensuring the vital delivery of medicines and life-saving supplies to
  3. Arms and technology trade embargo: Halting at once all military exports, technology
    transfers and assistance to the Israeli settler colonial ethnostate.
  4. Accountability: Holding Israel accountable for its violations of international law and
    collective punishment against civilians, including by publicly and unconditionally supporting
    the current investigation carried out by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court;
  5. Amplification of Palestinian voices: Organising a public hearing in the European
    Parliament with representatives from Palestinian human rights organisations in order to
    start discussions for a lasting and just peace;
  6. Protection of civic space: Protecting the civic space, including the right of peaceful
    assembly, expression and association of Palestinian civil society and activists both within
    Palestine and beyond.
  7. Commitment to justice for the Palestinian people: Committing to an end to the
    occupation of Palestine, recognising the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens
    of Israel to full equality, and Respecting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their
    homes as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
    As long as Palestinians remain oppressed and their calls for decolonisation are sidelined, the cycle of
    violence is likely to continue, with disproportionate and deadly consequences for Palestinians.

    Full statement, the signatories are below: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeuraTngf03S4HVORYnWDFthJ4j_E7-hQJk0_umKSjPkb6bsg/viewform


    [1] Jewish Voice for Peace, Statement: The root of violence is oppression.
    [2] https://x.com/vonderleyen/status/1714348558877352297?s=20
    [3] We are referring to stances taken in by the Irish government (see related article) and Podemos
    (see related article). [4] Demands 2 and 4 are taken over from the demands as expressed in this
    letter by Palestinian civil society organisations: https://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/21904.html
    [5] As outlined by Palestinian Civil Society in the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

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