A group of more than 800 European Union officials have written an open letter to the bloc’s chief, Ursula von der Leyen, criticising her “uncontrolled” support of Israel amid the ongoing violence in Gaza. The letter, which was published on Thursday, accused the EU of being “de facto aligned with Israeli policies” and called for concrete actions to stop the bloodshed and uphold international law.
The signatories of the letter included current and former members of the European Parliament, national parliaments, diplomats, academics, and civil society activists from across the EU. They expressed their concern and dissatisfaction with the EU’s stance on the conflict, which they said has contributed to the “erosion of the prospects of a just peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis”. They also denounced the EU’s failure to recognize the “root causes” of the conflict, such as the Israeli occupation, colonization, and apartheid.
The letter urged von der Leyen to use the EU’s political and economic leverage to pressure Israel to end its violations of human rights and international law, and to support the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. The letter also demanded that the EU suspend its association agreement with Israel, which grants preferential trade and cooperation terms, until Israel complies with its obligations under the agreement. Furthermore, the letter called on the EU to support the International Criminal Court’s investigation into alleged war crimes committed by both sides in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The letter concluded by saying that the EU has a “moral and legal responsibility” to act in accordance with its values and principles, and to promote a peaceful resolution of the conflict based on justice and human dignity. The letter also expressed solidarity with the Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations that are working for peace and human rights.
The letter was initiated by the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP), a network of 42 European organizations that advocate for Palestinian rights. The ECCP said that the letter was a “historic initiative” that reflects the growing frustration and discontent among European officials and citizens with the EU’s “passive” and “biased” role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The ECCP also said that the letter was a “clear message” to von der Leyen that she needs to change her approach and adopt a more balanced and effective policy.