Irish Green MEPs Grace O’Sullivan and Ciarán Cuffe voted against a European Parliament Resolution on Gaza today after amendments to the text made a ceasefire conditional upon the prior release of hostages and the dismantling of Hamas. The changes rendered the ceasefire call practically meaningless, in their view. The Resolution passed by a margin of312 votes to 131 votes, with 72 abstentions.
MEPs O’Sullivan and Cuffe supported amendments to the text that expressed “deep concern at the dire and rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip”, condemned the “disproportionate Israeli military response which has caused a civilian death toll of unprecedented scale”, and supported the idea of a European initiative to “put the two-state solution back on track” with peace talks following the conflict.
The Resolution also expressed strong support for the work of the International Court of Justice, but stopped short of explicitly supporting South Africa’s case accusing Israel of breaching the Genocide Convention.
The Irish Green MEPs however found it impossible to support a Resolution that failed to make a meaningful call for a ceasefire.
Member of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Palestine and MEP for Ireland South, Grace O’Sullivan said:
“In saying that the Parliament only supports a ceasefire on the condition that Hamas is eliminated essentially hands the far-right Israeli government a blank cheque to continue the bombardment of Gaza for as long as they want. Once again the EU has failed to provide any leadership on the Israeli onslaught on the Gazan civilian population. Conservative groups, including the EPP, have played a consistent role as an obstacle to peace. We need a braver EU that is willing to stand against the worst humanitarian crisis of our time and call loud and clear for a permanent ceasefire without taking sides. This is a dark day for the European peace project.”
MEP for Dublin Ciarán Cuffe said:
“It is no secret that the European Union is divided on this. However, after more than 100 days of constant bombardment, over 24,000 dead and millions of people displaced, Europe is compelled to call for a meaningful ceasefire at a bare minimum. Never has this Union seemed so divorced from its founding values of peace and respect for human rights. It is time for European leaders to wake up: for the sake of humanity, we must take real and tangible actions to secure a permanent ceasefire, now.”
MEPs Grace O’Sullivan and Ciarán Cuffe believe that the EU should engage the full weight of its influence to end the bloodshed in Gaza. They have publicly supported the case brought by South Africa in the ICJ to investigate breaches of the Genocide Convention in Gaza and called for EU countries, including the Irish government, to intervene. They have also called for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, an EU-wide ban on the sale of Israeli settlement goods, EU sanctions against violent West Bank settlers, and the resignation of European Commissioner Varhelyi following his attempt to cut off EU aid to Gaza.