Gaza riotsBrussels, May 30th, 2018 – The international community, from EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini to the UN Envoy in Jerusalem, Nikolay Mladenov, have condemned the recent wave of rocket and mortar barrages that has hit the south of Israel in the last few days. In a tweet on Tuesday Mladenov said that he was “deeply concerned by the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian militants from Gaza.” Other world leaders expressed similar concerns.

In a statement on Wednesday, ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell noted that “terror attacks against Israeli civilians will only stop when the international community adopts a consistent policy of zero tolerance concerning all terror attacks against Israel, instead of rewarding some of them with sympathetic media coverage and immediate calls for independent investigations into alleged disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defense Forces.”

“The Israeli government has a right and a duty to protect its citizens. The premature conclusions after the Gaza border violence two weeks ago, in demanding a UN-led investigation of alleged disproportionate use of force by the IDF has clearly encouraged the involved terrorist organisations Hamas and Islamic Jihad to continue their terror campaigns against Israeli civilians. They realise all too well that it is eventually the IDF, and not them, that is likely to receive the blame for any casualties caused by the terror attacks in their use of women and children as human shields.”

“International support cannot cease the moment the IDF takes action to protect its citizens”, Sandell said, noting how international sympathy quickly turns to open protests once the IDF fires back at terrorist combatants.

“’Proportionate use of force’ cannot mean that Israeli soldiers are expected to throw stones back at terrorists when they use a mixture of throwing stones at soldiers, burning tyres and firing with live ammunition behind women and children.” Earlier in the week an Israeli soldier died from heavy injuries after having been hit with a chunk of marble from an unidentified Palestinian.

However, whilst south Israel was experiencing the worst rocket and mortar fire since 2014, Spanish MEP Elena Valenciano, speaking on behalf of the Social Democratic group (S&D), demanded that “the EU should assess if Israel is complying with the EU Association Agreement in terms of respect for human rights.” The group called for an independent commission to investigate what has happened. S&D is the second largest party group in the European Parliament.

Valenciano was rebutted by other speakers, including Danish MEP Anders Primdahl Vistisen, who stated that “Terror is always the responsibility of the perpetrators, never the victims.” He is supported by the Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický who in a rare statement earlier in the week said that “Hamas alone is responsible for deadly Gaza violence and that attempts to breach border fences could be seen as terrorism.”

In a clarifying Facebook statement on Wednesday, ECI Brussels representative Ruth Isaac noted that “Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005, only for it to become a hotbed for terrorism. It is highly offensive that the international community continues to demand that also Judea and Samaria should fall under Palestinian rule while failing to address the continuous terrorist threat from Gaza.”