European Parliament (almost) calls for a ceasefire in Gaza
Despite the humanitarian situation in Gaza, EU Institutions fail to fully condemn the alleged war crimes against civilians and children.
On 18 January for the first time, the European Parliament explicitly called for a permanent ceasefire which is a stronger call compared to the previous request for a “humanitarian pause” in October 2023. The resolution condemns Israel’s disproportionate military response and expresses support to the International Court of Justice, before which South Africa filed accusations of genocide against Israel.
However, an amendment by the EPP - European People's Party added the condition that the ceasefire should take place only after the release of the hostages and the "dismantling of Hamas".
The resolution was approved with 312 votes in favour, 131 against and 72 abstentions. By adding these conditions, the Parliament’s resolution does not condemn the alleged crimes against civilians per se but reads them as contingent damage and indirectly allows them to continue to happen until the defeat of Hamas.
Hospitals in Gaza are in catastrophic conditions. Schools, shelters, shops and homes have been hit by the Israeli army. According to Save the Children, 100 children are killed in Gaza every day on average. Hunger, diseases and the lack of basic needs such as water, medicines and power threaten the lives of 1 million children.
“We call on European Union (EU) institutions and EU Member States to use all available avenues to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian civilians, including children. We call for an immediate ceasefire that would provide opportunities to negotiate the release of hostages and for an independent international inquiry into the crimes committed by all parties. The ceasefire will also prevent the escalating loss of innocent lives in Gaza and facilitate the delivery of crucial humanitarian aid.” says Sabine Saliba, Eurochild Secretary General.
Israel’s response to Hamas’ unprecedented and brutal attacks on 7 October 2023 became a collective punishment against the civilian population of Palestine especially children who are half of Gaza's population and who have been living with their families under more than 50 years of Israeli occupation.
“Following the abhorrent Hamas attacks on 7 October, the wholesale destruction of Gaza and the number of civilian casualties in such a short period are totally unprecedented during my mandate,” said Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General on 20 January.
The European Parliament resolution, which had no legal weight, shines a light on the European Union’s "double standards" on human rights. Every child, regardless of their background, must be shielded from the horrors of war.
At Eurochild we continue to implore EU Institutions and EU Member States to:
- Advocate for an immediate ceasefire
- Support sustained and unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance
- Promote peaceful negotiations
- Publicly and unconditionally call for accountability for all parties to the conflict, without exception, for their violation of international law and the collective punishment of civilians.
Photo by Amaan Shaikh