European Parliament "lambastes" Israel over Gaza seige

Today, the European Parliament adopted a resolution saying that “The policy of isolation of the Gaza strip has failed at both the political and humanitarian level … The civilian population should be exempt from any military action and any collective punishment.”

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, using reporting from Reuters and its own reporting as well, added that the resolution also said: “The European Parliament calls on Israel to cease military actions killing and endangering civilians, and extrajudicial targeted killings”.

The lawmakers also urged the Gaza Strip’s rulers Hamas to prevent the firing of rockets into Israel.

However, the report noted, “EU lawmakers have no power over the bloc’s foreign policy” … This Haaretz story is posted here.

Meanwhile, in another story with a Europe angle, the Jerusalem Post reported that “An Israeli prime minister has never visited Brussels on a formal diplomatic mission. ‘It’s just never worked out’, the diplomatic official said … Part of Israel’s strategy to strengthen relations with Europe is to de-link those ties from the vicissitudes of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In the past, Israeli-European ties fluctuated parallel to progress, or the lack thereof, on negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. ‘The Europeans are, in general, not pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli, they are pro-peace process. Progress with the Palestinians meant better relations with Europe’, the Israeli diplomatic source said. Jerusalem’s new strategy is to enhance cooperation with Europe in a variety of fields and to demonstrate that Israel can help with some of the EU’s many interests in the region. To that end, Israel has in the past few weeks sent a detailed plan to the European Union asking to enter into negotiations on cooperation in nine fields. The cooperation would entail ‘significant’ Israeli inclusion into an array of EU institutions in fields such as finance, education, environment, youth development, law enforcement, security cooperation and scientific research collaboration … Another aspect of Jerusalem’s strategy to strengthen ties with Europe is increasing contact with the continent’s growing Muslim communities. ‘Europe is becoming more and more Muslim, and we have identified a need to reach out to these populations’, the diplomatic official said”. This JPost article is posted here.