European Council: 'Lift Gaza blockade'
MPs from 47 states say flotilla raid breached int'l law, avoid probe.
By REBECCA ANNA STOIL & JPOST.COM STAFF
June 24, 2010 16:08
2 minute read.
Council of Europe flag 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Council of Europe called on Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza “without
prejudice to its own security” on Thursday.
The council welcomed
the announcement of a partial easing of the blockade, but said there
should be access by land and sea to allow in the goods necessary for
“normal living conditions” and to permit economic development.
MKs aim to
thwart flotilla probe
assembly also said Israel’s attack on the Gaza
aid flotilla was “manifestly disproportionate” and a breach of
It called on Israel to co-operate fully with the international
community to ensure a “prompt, international, impartial and transparent
enquiry” into what happened.Israeli
MKs claimed to have thwarted an effort by Turkish parliamentarians on
Thursday, to use the Council of Europe for a far worse condemnation.
Israeli delegation was led by Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner, who
worked from Tuesday to try and soften the resolution the European
organization planned to pass. Plesner noted that the final resolution
had not established a probe to investigate the raid and had praised
Israel's efforts to reduce the blockade.
lobbying by the
Knesset's delegation to the inter-parliamentary body, preceded the
change to the motion's text.
The Council of Europe is
inter-parliamentary group consisting of over 500 delegates representing
European countries. Israel has held observer status for decades at the
which Plesner said usually focuses on issues concerning the advancement
democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
The council is
holding its summer session, and for the first time ever, the council’s
is a member of the Turkish delegation – a fact that, this summer, has
implications for Israel.
“The Turks are opening another front
Israel – this time in Strasbourg, at the Council of Europe,” complained
Plesner. “On Monday, they revealed – by surprise – that they wanted to
chain of emergency hearings on the flotilla and Gaza. The current
in an interview with a Turkish newspaper that he wants the Council of
exercise its authority to establish an international probe into the Gaza
Plesner said the Knesset delegation had done extensive
behind-the-scenes diplomacy to mitigate the resolution, which was voted
both in the council’s Diplomatic Affairs Committee and in its plenum.
MK, who has chaired the Israeli delegation to the Council of Europe for
months, echoed complaints made by other parliamentary representatives to
international bodies that “there is no doubt that there is a trend even
our friends in which Israel is beginning to be perceived as a burden or a
He explained that
“the perception of Israel, due to propaganda, is that we are the enemies
liberal values, and here especially, the liberal discourse is very
you are not part of this, you are isolated.”
Plesner continued, “We are
trying to present the hypocrisy of the other side, which is taking
the liberal discourse to advance illiberal behavior. I understand that
partially due to changes within Europe with the increase of the strength
Islam, where parliamentarians feel that they can earn credit with their
by condemning Israel.”