GUE/NGL has called for an urgent debate in the European Parliament on the situation in the Gaza Strip, in response to Israel´s brutal handling of the Palestinian Great March of Return.  

The debate will take place today and will address Israel´s calculated killing of dozens of Palestinian protestors and the broader context of occupation and illegal blockade that has made life unbearable for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. 

The protest marches that started on the 30th of March are to last until the 15th of May when Palestinians non-violently intend to cross over the fence separating Israel with Gaza to return to the towns Israel conquered. 

The vast majority of Gaza´s 1.8 million residents are refugees and they have for decades been denied their UN-sanctioned right of return to the home Israel expelled them from in 1948.

MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis, chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Palestine condemned Israel´s killing of unarmed Palestinian protesters:  

“We witnessed once again Israel´s criminal behaviour with the attacks against Palestinian civilians that have tainted with blood Land Day commemorations on the 30th of March. Over 30 Palestinians including children have been killed by the Israeli army with more than 3500 injured.”

“Palestinians have been living under a military occupation for over half a century and Gaza has been under an inhumane blockade for 11 years. Due to Israel´s barbarity, Gaza is today an open air prison where almost 2 million people live in crowded conditions. 80% of Gaza´s population is dependent on international aid and the humanitarian crisis worsens each day. “

“We strongly condemn Israel´s flagrant violations of the human rights of Palestinians. We call for an end to Israel´s criminal behaviour and for the respect of the decisions of the international community and of UN resolutions.”

“We call on the EU to end its unacceptable equal distance policy and to support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as capital.”

MEP Patrick Le Hyaric urged for concrete measures of accountability: 

“We must go beyond statements of intention. Respect for international law requires that the EU set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the killings of protesters in Gaza and put in place mechanisms to protect the Palestinian people.”

MEP Miguel Urbán called for an immediate suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement:

“The killing of peaceful demonstrators is an intolerable customary practice of the Israeli army.”

“Enough words! We demand that the EU suspend the Association Agreement with Israel and end arms exports and security cooperation with Israel.”

“We stand in solidarity with right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, justice, freedom, equality and the right to return of all refugees,” Urbán concluded.

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