SP leaders Roemer and Kox: Violence in Gaza must stop

2 August 2014

SP leaders Roemer and Kox: Violence in Gaza must stop

The horrible explosion of violence in Gaza has shocked people throughout the world. In our country as much as elsewhere, there is widespread horror. It’s time that the government of the Netherlands put greater pressure on Israel to put an end to the completely disproportionate nature and extent of the military intervention in Gaza, write SP leader Emile Roemer and the party’s Senate chair Tiny Kox.

The enormous death-count, the high proportion of civilians amongst the victims, under whom are many children, the absurd destruction of residential areas, schools, reception centres and public utilities, the closure of Gaza to international aid for the countless victims of the recent explosion of violence, can in no way be justified. The certainty that there are, according to the UN Commission for Human Rights, reasons to believe that war crimes have been committed accentuates the utterly absurd character of Israel’s military intervention in Gaza.

Last week saw a formal written exchange take place in the Netherlands between Parliament and government. Both the latter and an overwhelming majority of Members of Parliament are in agreement that everything possible must be done to bring an end to these disgraceful events in Gaza. There was a difference of opinion between the government and some political groups over the question of whether the Netherlands is really doing all in its power. In our view the government could and should be putting more pressure on Israel’s government. SP groups in both houses of Parliament have informed Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans that we believe that he should summon the Israeli ambassador with all due haste.

We think that such a summons would represent an unequivocal signal to the Israeli government and make it clear that if such an unacceptable explosion of violence does not stop, there will be immediate consequences for relations between the Netherlands and Israel. There are specifications in the Association Agreement concluded between the European Union and Israel which name compliance with human rights as a condition of this treaty. The present military operation is, according to out parliamentary groups, a straightforward violation of this obligation and should as such be condemned by the Dutch government and by the European Union. We have also asked Minister Timmermans, therefore, to hold a meeting as soon as possible with his fellow foreign ministers in the EU on the consequences of the Israeli military intervention for the administration of the Association Agreement.

As a rule the Netherlands enjoys good relations with Israel. There is nothing wrong with that. But friendly relations include the ability to speak the truth. This truth is now that Israel is committing unacceptable outrages, threatening once again the very existence of the Palestinian people, and ruining any chance of a lasting peace in the Middle East.

Of course the rocket attacks from inside Gaza are in conflict with international law and with the position of the Palestinian government, which has time after time condemned them. But now the primary and most important thing is to condemn in the strongest possible terms the utterly disproportionate nature and extent of the violence that the Israeli army has unleashed upon the anguished population of Gaza. This is a task for the international community, and therefore for the government of the Netherlands.

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