Put an end to the blockade of Gaza. Stop the occupation of Gaza

22 March 2019

Put an end to the blockade of Gaza. Stop the occupation of Gaza

At the end of last month, a UN Human Rights Council committee of enquiry published a hard-hitting report on Israel's seriously disproportional violence carried out last year against Palestinian demonstrators on the border with Gaza. Almost two hundred Palestinians have been killed by Israel and thousands wounded.

- By Sadet Karabalut

The report's conclusions couldn't be clearer. Israel has committed large-scale transgressions of international law, including war crimes. The country's forces have even knowingly fired on journalists, medical personnel, children, women and disabled people who posed them no danger. Our foreign minister cannot allow this to go unanswered. It calls for suspension of military cooperation with Israel, as well as sanctions and an arms embargo. It's time to put an end to impunity. It's time for social justice.

If Israel is a functioning democratic state where the rule of law prevails, as is so often asserted, including by our own foreign minister, then those responsible for this bloodbath must be prosecuted. But that's not happening. A few inquiries are being conducted, it's true, though these should have been long concluded, but no-one has been sentenced. As is so often the case, impunity is the norm.

That's unacceptable. I asked the minister as long ago as last year to condemn the Israeli violence. At the time he refused to do that on the grounds that we should first wait for the investigation to be completed. That inquiry has now been completed. So I'm asking the minister once more: is he prepared to condemn the disproportionate violence from the Israeli side?

The only structural solution to the violence on the border with Gaza is and end to Israel's illegal blockade, supported as it frequently is by Egypt.

Finally, neither the Netherlands nor Europe should in any way contribute to Israeli crimes such as those in Gaza. For that reason I am once again calling on the minister and on Parliament to suspend the Association Agreement with Israel.

Sadet Karabulut is a Member of Parliament and the SP spokeswoman on foreign affairs. This is (slightly) adapted from a question which she put to the Minister of Foreign Affairs last week.

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