EU resolution urges end to Gaza closure

MEPs: isolating Gaza "failed on political and humanitarian level;" Livni: EU fails to see reality.

standing on Rafah 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
standing on Rafah 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution calling on Israel to lift the blockade imposed on Gaza, saying the move had failed and calling for the reopening of crossings into the Strip. "The policy of isolation of the Gaza Strip has failed on both the political and humanitarian level," said the MEPs in Strasbourg. The parliament also called on Israel to halt IDF operations which endangering civilians, as well as targeted killings. In addition, it condemned Hamas, saying it must stop the firing of Kassam rockets. The resolution is of a symbolic nature only, since the European Parliament has no influence over EU foreign policy. Earlier Thursday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni slammed the European community on for what she called its failure to see what is really happening in Gaza. After talks in Tel Aviv with visiting European Union Middle East envoy Marc Otte, Livni said people who live here cannot accept the compromises that the international community is pushing for. "It would be better if Europe understood that Gaza is a zero sum game; either Hamas or the moderates," Livni said. "A situation must be avoided whereby Hamas gains points with the Palestinian public through improvised solutions to problems they themselves created by their violent takeover [of Gaza] and the continuation of terror attacks against Israel." She said Israel was committed to achieving progress in the peace talks, but could not allow itself to close its eyes to the difficult reality in Gaza. A diplomatic source explained the relatively harsh comments by Livni by arguing that the EU and the international community are on the wrong track in focusing on what Israel should or shouldn't do. "Hamas is the source of the problem and they can stop the rocket attacks against Israel within minutes if they decide to," the source said. Otte's spokesman told The Jerusalem Post that the envoy preferred to keep the contents of the meeting with Livni confidential, but that the EU has called for the controlled re-opening of the border crossings into Gaza. The EU supports the call by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad for the PA to take control of the crossings on the Palestinian side. Israeli officials reject such a solution, arguing that it would grant Hamas de facto control of the crossings. In Strasbourg on Thursday, European Union lawmakers urged Israel not to inflict "collective punishment" on Gaza's population, saying its isolation of the territory had failed and its actions were endangering civilians. They urged Israel to lift a blockade which has cut supplies to the 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip. "The policy of isolation of the Gaza Strip has failed at both the political and humanitarian level," the European Parliament said in an adopted resolution. "The civilian population should be exempt from any military action and any collective punishment." The resolution also urged Hamas to prevent the firing of rockets into Israel and called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to hold a dialogue with Hamas. Earlier, during talks in Tel Aviv with her Romanian counterpart, Adrian Mihai Cioroianu, Livni urged Europe to maintain its boycott of Hamas, calling on European states to internalize that Hamas is not an organization that is interested in the establishment of a state. "Hamas does not seek to win rights for the Palestinians, but rather to deny the rights of others. Any indirect support for Hamas - even through a discussion of the crossings or the humanitarian situation - weakens those interested in reaching an agreement."