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European Parliament calls for international inquiry and end to blockade

January 31, 2014 at 12:50 pm

An international and impartial inquiry into Israel ‘s attack on a humanitarian flotilla, the opening of all crossing points to and from Gaza and an immediate end to the blockade are among Parliament’s demands in a resolution passed on Thursday. MEPs also advocate reshaping the EU’s Middle East policy, to make it more decisive.
Israel should immediately end the Gaza blockade, which has resulted in a humanitarian disaster, paralyzed the Gaza Strip’s reconstruction and economy and aggravated political radicalisation, say MEPs. At the same time, they call on EU High Representative Catherine Ashton to submit an EU plan to the Quartet to help end the blockade.

To address Israel’s security concerns, MEPs proposes international monitoring of the crossings, including the re-activation of the EU Border Assistance Mission (EU-BAM). Parliament calls on Hamas to stop all attacks against Israel immediately, and also to free Gilad Shalit, the Israeli sergeant kidnapped by Hamas in 2006 and held incommunicado ever since.
The EU-Israel Association Council and the EU-Palestinian Authority Joint Committee should be convened to discuss the current the Middle East crisis, adds the resolution.
Although recent events have damaged relations between Turkey and Israel, Parliament encourages the Turkish government to focus its diplomatic and political effort on easing the plight of the Palestinian people and contributing to the Middle East peace process.
The resolution was approved in a roll-call vote, with 470 votes in favour, 56 against and 56 abstentions.