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HomeWorldEU credibility at risk over silence on Israel's Gaza war: MP

EU credibility at risk over silence on Israel’s Gaza war: MP

  • Lawmakers demand Israel arms embargo
  • Citing Gaza’s civilian casualties
  • Global call for coordinated action

Europe’s credibility regarding its ability to comment on Russia’s actions in Ukraine would be jeopardized if it maintained its silence on Gaza, according to one Belgian lawmaker. This individual is one of over two hundred legislators who have endorsed a letter advocating for an arms embargo on Israel.

Belgian member of parliament Simon Moutquin stated, “We are so hypocritical in Europe to speak about international law when we speak about Ukraine and Russia, [but] if we do not have the same [views] when we speak about the Palestinians, we will have no credibility in the future to speak about [it].”

On Friday, over two hundred legislators from nations that provide military funding to Israel demanded that their countries cease arms sales to Tel Aviv, citing “violations of international law.” This demand comes as Israel’s ceaseless bombardment of Gaza has claimed the lives of over 30,000 individuals, the majority of whom are civilians.

Legislators from thirteen countries declared in a letter that they would not be “complicit” and would require their respective legislatures to take “immediate coordinated action” to prevent their governments from arming Israel.

A political representative from Belgium, citing a “risk of genocide” if nations continue to fund Tel Aviv’s war on Gaza, stated that his country, too, must take action to stop Israel.

“Belgium has a legal and moral obligation to prevent the risk of genocide as a signatory to the Convention Against Genocide; therefore, I believe this letter… is a good first step; however, we must go further,” said Moutquin, who also expressed concern over an internal schism within the European Union that has hindered the bloc’s ability to address Israel’s war on Gaza in a unified fashion.

Sustained military funding for Israel amid the Gaza conflict

The United States provides approximately $3 billion in annual aid to the Israeli military, making it the largest donor of military funds. An additional $14 billion is currently under consideration by US legislators as funding for Tel Aviv’s operations in Gaza.

Tel Aviv received guided-missile carriers, F-35 fighter aircraft, and additional military equipment from the United States immediately following the October 7 attacks by Hamas against Israel and the subsequent declaration of war by Tel Aviv on the Gaza Strip. From 2013 to 2022, the United States supplied approximately 68% of Israel’s weapons imports.

Additionally, German imports of weaponry—primarily air defense systems and communications equipment—support Tel Aviv. Germany supplies Israel with a total of 28 percent of its military imports; however, this proportion nearly tenfold increased from 2022 to 2023 after Berlin escalated sales to Israel in November.

Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and France, among others, provide Israel with military assistance.

Some nations, however, have ceased arms exports to Tel Aviv in the wake of an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Israel “plausibly” committed genocide in Gaza and ordered Israel to prevent genocide in Gaza.

In February, a court in the Netherlands halted the export of components for military fighter aircraft in response to a lawsuit filed by rights organizations against the government. In recent weeks, Belgium, Spain, and Japan have all terminated military collaboration with Tel Aviv.

Donor country legislators “take a stand.”

Legislators stated in the open letter that an arms embargo on Israel is legally required, citing the ICJ’s February ruling.

“Our bullets and bombs must not be used to maim, kill, or dispossess Palestinians,” they declared. “However, it is no secret that our nations are suppliers or manufacturers of lethal weapons and their components, which are presently supporting the Israeli offensive against Palestine, which has claimed more than 30,000 lives in Gaza and the West Bank.”

Representatives primarily from France, Australia, Spain, Turkey, and Brazil charged Israel with violating international law by intensifying invasion preparations for Rafah, the final enclave housing over 1.5 million Palestinians displaced by the conflict, in addition to continuing its war in Gaza.

Additionally, the letter stated, “We take a stand today.” “Our respective legislatures will act swiftly and in concert to prevent our nations from arming Israel.”

Furthermore, the message also received the signatures of legislators representing Germany, Portugal, the United States, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.

Since October 7, at least 30,228 individuals have been killed in Gaza, the vast majority of whom are women and children. The meager influx of aid is resulting in fatalities due to dehydration and malnutrition. Assaulting Rafah would be “the final nail in the coffin” of the humanitarian crisis in the region, the United Nations has warned.

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