Opening a GUE/NGL event titled “Banning the Arms Trade with Israel”, GUE/NGL MEP Martina Anderson said it was dedicated to the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which falls today, November 26.

She spoke about the results of the most recent Russell Tribunal on Palestine, held in Brussels on 25 September, and listed the Tribunal's recommendations, amongst others the suspension of the EU-Israel agreement, the suspension of the EU-Israel scientific cooperation agreement, a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel as well as on the import of all military equipment from Israel.

These calls were reiterated during the hearing, notably by GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer, who spoke of the group's “long-standing commitment and support for the Palestinian people and a two-state solution.”

“We were horrified by the death and destruction caused by the war in the Gaza Strip. A basic solution must be found in the Middle East and it must be one of the EU's top priorities. We in the GUE/NGL call for the EU relationship between the EU and Israel to be suspended until steps have been taken to comply with UN resolutions. We call for an embargo on the Israeli weapons industry. We are for a lasting peace under the precondition of the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.”

The event then heard from a number of guest speakers: Frank Slijper, from PAX, Ghassan Khatib, Vice-President of Birzeit University, Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Committee for Human Rights, Dr. Ruchama Marton, President of the Israeli NGO Physicians for Human Rights, Irish journalist David Cronin and Michael Deas European coordinator of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement in Palestine.

Concluding the hearing, Martina Anderson said:  “We want you to know that we will continue working against violations of international humanitarian law and to keep this subject in the public domain and in the minds of MEPs.”

She pledged support for the platform which calls for the suspension of the EU-Israel agreement and also the EU-Israel scientific agreement. In the words of Bertrand Russell, founder of the Russell Tribunal, she said that “events such as this should aim to prevent the crime of silence”.

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