Brussels, 22nd July, 2014 – As the Israeli defense operation Protective Edge reached its third week, the European Coalition for Israel released a statement on Tuesday. It asks the European Union clearly to condemn the war crimes of Hamas which is locating its terrorist infrastructure in the middle of the civilian population in Gaza, thus maximizing the number of civilian casualties as the Israeli Defence Force continues to take out military targets which threaten Israel.
Hamas is clearly violating international law, in particular Article 58 of the Additional Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits locating legitimate military targets ”within or near densely populated areas”.
’As international media reports daily on casualties in Gaza, it too has an obligation to point out these obvious war crimes by Hamas, instead of placing the blame solely on Israel’, Tomas Sandell said. ECI notes that a growing number of world leaders have reiterated their support for Israel’s right to defend herself against Hamas rocket attacks, while at the same time calling for a ceasefire.
’It is important that these same world leaders clearly condemn Hamas’ use of human shields in order to put the record straight as to why there is such a high number of civil casualties in the Israeli ground operation in Gaza’, Sandell said.
Innocent lives must be spared at all costs and the world can no longer remain silent while Hamas prevents its civilian population from evacuating from targeted neighbourhoods. This clearly violates article 51(7) of the Additional Protocol of the Geneva Convention.
ECI also raises its serious concerns over the growing radicalisation of anti-Israeli demonstrations across Europe, where Jewish targets are being singled out and attacked.
Violent attacks on Jewish properties and synagogues cannot be tolerated in Europe in 2014. We commend the French Government for taking a clear stand against the recent violent attacks on two Synagogues in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles where three Jewish shops were also burned and pillaged. ECI calls upon the Foreign Ministers of the European Union immediately to raise this urgent issue at their top level meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.
In Paris last weekend, Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that France faces a new form of anti-semitism, fomented by the hard left and by political activists like the comedian Dieudonné, who blame the ”Jews” for all the world´s ills.
French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve said ”When you menace synagogues and when you burn a grocery because it is Jewish-owned, you are committing anti-semitic acts. Nothing can justify such violence.”
’A Europe where Jews can no longer feel safe and secure is a failure of the European vision ofAdenauer, Monet and Schuman’, Sandell concluded. ’We therefore urge the leaders of the European Union to take immediate action.’