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The EU is careful not to antagonise Israel, so supports its genocide

May 7, 2024 at 4:45 pm

Protester with keffiyeh and “Gaza silence on genocide” sign during the rally in support of the Palestinian people of Gaza held in Toulouse, south-west France, on April 27, 2024 [PAT BATARD/Hans Lucas/AFP via Getty Images]

Prioritising its trade and economic agreements with Israel puts the EU at a disadvantage when it comes to leveraging its purported influence with regard to human rights. It is both incapable and unwilling to disrupt the status quo, as the unfolding genocide over the past seven months has demonstrated. The EU called for “restraint”, as it does during times of normalised Israeli violence. And Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo took issue with settlement products and the specific mention of dates, wine and olive oil as products that the EU should ban, in response to Israeli settler violence in the occupied West Bank and the genocide in Gaza. I am not suggesting that the EU should continue its trade deals with Israel, but how does such an insignificant gesture in this particular moment stop Israel’s appetite for atrocities?

EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell warned that Israel will kill more civilians in Gaza.

“The Rafah offensive has started again, in spite of all the requests of the international community, the US, the European member states, everybody asking [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu not to attack,” Borrell was quoted as saying by Reuters.

European diplomats should know by now that asking Israel to refrain from violence is a futile exercise. Force is the kind of language that the settler-colonial entity understands better. And the EU was actually obliged to stop Israel’s occupation decades ago, just as the UN was under an obligation to protect Palestine and Palestinians from Zionist settler-colonialism. Now, while Palestinians are being butchered and “pulled piece by piece from the rubble”, the EU rehashes its consideration of banning settlement products instead of collectively and actively seeking an end to Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

READ: European Parliament members criticise EU as ‘accomplice of Israel’

Such measures will not hurt Israel now, or slow the killing in Gaza. They speak volumes, though, about EU complicity with Israel and its genocidal actions. A look at some statements by European leaders illustrate how there is no serious concern for Palestinians, only superficial rhetoric such as “firmest opposition”, “dramatic consequences for the population” and “the suffering already endured”.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen takes the prize for feigning concern: “I think it would be completely unacceptable if Netanyahu would invade Rafah.” In October 2023, von der Leyen claimed that “Only if we acknowledge Israel’s pain, and its right to defend itself, will we have the credibility to say that Israel should react as a democracy, in line with international humanitarian law. And that it is crucial to protect civilian lives, even and especially in the middle of a war.” Now that the EU has recognised Israel’s alleged pain and allowed Israel to destroy Gaza, is von der Leyen stating that genocidal acts are democratic?

Let us not even pretend for a moment that banning settlement products at a time of genocide is an act that will stop Israel from killing Palestinians in Gaza. Every weak statement by the EU only points to the fact that Israel should have been stopped long before 7 October. If one goes back even further in history, before the EU was founded, the international community should have stopped the Zionist colonisers from creating Israel in occupied Palestine. Do something, EU, or say nothing, because no Palestinian deserves being mocked at any time, least of all during a genocide.

READ: Europe is not serious about stopping the genocide in Gaza

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