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Israel's twisted logic in keeping EU legislators out of Gaza

Israel says allowing organizations to visit Gaza inherently ‘strengthens Hamas,’ even when no visits with Hamas officials are planned. Couldn’t the same logic be used to argue for a boycott of Israel, considering Israel’s occupation regime?

Graffiti on the Israeli separation barrier dividing East Jerusalem neighborhoods reads, “Boycott Israel”, March 26, 2012. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Belier/Activestills.org)

Israel blocked a European Parliament humanitarian delegation from entering the Gaza Strip through Israel last week, claiming that the visit would “strengthen Hamas.”

The draft program of the trip, seen by +972, was scheduled to take place this week, October 27-30. The delegation was expected to enter Gaza through Israel’s Erez Crossing on Monday morning after spending the night in East Jerusalem and leaving through Erez and and driving straight to Ben-Gurion Airport Wednesday. The program does not appear to include any meetings with Hamas officials; rather, the two-and-a-half-day trip was to focus on civil society and the work of UNRWA, the UN organization supporting Palestinian refugees.

More about the new EU settlement guidelines

In an email to the delegation, the Israel mission to the European Union denied that “Israel refused an official visit of the delegation to Gaza… but rather refused the use of its territory to enter the Gaza Strip.” The email went on to explain, “this is in line with the policy according to which Israel does not facilitate visits to the Gaza Strip which will strengthen Hamas, a terror organization designated as such also by the European Union.”

The EU delegation was to have included MEPs Emer Costello (Ireland), Margarete Auken (Denmark), Sir Robert Atkins (UK) as well as MEPs from Germany and France. The delegation was organized with the knowledge and support of European Parliament President Martin Shultz.

Costello condemned the Israeli decision, saying members were “shocked and dismayed,” since the visit was “due to take place under the auspices of UNRWA, and clearly focused on vital public services such as schools, health centers and food distribution centers.” Costello requested that President Schulz and High Representative Catherine Ashton take up the issue with the Israeli authorities, but thus far nothing has changed. Costello told +972 Monday that the delegation was now in Ramallah and had decided on an alternative program in the West Bank and East Jerusalem instead, as well as “monitoring political developments in the region including that of the Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons.”

Since July when the EU announced that as of 2014 it would enforce settlement guidelines that limit many joint projects with Israel beyond the pre-1967 borders (although it has since become clear how insubstantial the guidelines are designated to be), Israel has been scrambling to deter and reject the move. Since July, European Union aid staff have been barred entry permits to Gaza and the Defense Ministry has made life difficult for EU humanitarian projects in the West Bank and Gaza.

The latest decision by Israel not only demonstrates that it continues to control access to Gaza and uses its sovereign powers to interfere with EU and UN work in order to flex political muscle (much in the same way it does in the West Bank), but it also ironically gives credence to the argument for boycotting Israel.

According to Israel’s logic, any delegation coming here, regardless of the reason for the trip, could be seen as bolstering Israel’s military occupation and colonization-style regime just by stepping foot in the country — the same way allowing an EU delegation to enter Gaza would have bolstered Hamas.

It doesn’t matter to Israel that there are real people living in Gaza – 43% who are under 15 years of age  -or that over 70% of the population requires humanitarian aid, living in a veritable prison that is subject to the whims of the Egyptian and Israeli governments. For Israel, Gaza is just the terrorism of Hamas.

But for many people around the world, Israel is identified with the terror inflicted by the Israel Defense Forces and the government, bodies responsible for myriad human rights violations – whether through its control and deprivation of natural resources; restrictions on freedom of movement and protest; terrorizing villages with night raids and children arrests; jailing people without charge; letting violent citizens (or inciting politicians for that matter) continue to act with impunity; depriving people of water, land, etc. The list, unfortunately, goes on and on.

So according to this logic, anyone in the world who opposes Israeli government policies should not enter Israel, because doing so clearly “strengthens Israel’s occupation regime.”

The day Europe got Israel’s attention
Israel launches ‘price tag’ attack par excellence in response to EU settlement directive
The blockade on Gaza began long before Hamas came to power 

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    1. Vadim

      1. Hamas is at war with Israel
      2. Israel has no interest in assisting Hamas, any other Zubi Brigades located in the Gaza strip or the population they control.
      3. If Hamas wishes to improve the life of the people they control – they should make peace with Israel.
      4. Hamas does not wish to make peace with Israel – because shooting rockets, digging tunnels into kindergartens, kidnapping soldiers and spreading anti-jewish hatred is much more fun.
      5. People that wish to improve the situation of the residents of Gaza should try to convince Hamas to make peace with Israel. Or destroy Hamas.
      6. Any demand of Israel to do ANYTHING while the leaders of Hamas are not here BEGGING for peace is hypocritical, immoral and stupid.

      Reply to Comment
      • Haifawi

        Wouldn’t the best way to weaken Hamas be for Israel to build infrastructure projects and bomb shelters in Gaza with signs saying ‘this is a gift from the Israeli people to the people of Gaza,’ similar to the USAID signs in the West Bank?
        People understand who signs their checks. If Hamas only results in destruction while Israel means construction, Hamas will find that their popular base will collapse rather quickly.

        Reply to Comment
        • un2here

          The rubble in Gaza is signed Israel – a present from the Jewish People

          Reply to Comment
        • Vadim

          I wish what you said was true. I’d even settle for half true. Unfortunately it’s just wishful thinking.

          Reply to Comment
          • Haifawi

            You really think that Hamas enjoys broad support for reasons other than ‘they fight the organization that bombs my house and blockades my livelihood?’

            Reply to Comment
          • Vadim


            I also think the Islamic fundamentalist terror organizations and people that support them don’t think the way you think. You simply do not share the same basic values, your priorities are different.

            Reply to Comment
          • Haifawi

            In my travels here I have met numerous professed supporters of Hamas. All of them support Hamas for reasons related to the fact that they believe that Hamas will create a better future for them (or their children, etc.)

            There are Hamas supporters inside 48 Israel. You think they would give up their Bituach Bri’ut?

            Reply to Comment
    2. Sinead

      there are two Irish MEP’s on this delegation, Martina Anderson MEP is part of the delegation http://martinamep.eu/

      Reply to Comment
      • Marcos

        AA, it is time to retire your technique of taking the Hebrew names of prominent Israelis and switching them back to their names from the Diaspora. It is annoying already and just so you know, these cute games support absolutely nothing except your inability to,engage in constructive debate.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Average American

      Wasn’t it Yitzhak Jeziernicky who established the policy of
      endlessly negotiating for peace to buy more time to continue Zionism’s objectives? Jeziernicky, the Lehi terrorist from Belarus? You might know him better as Shamir.

      Reply to Comment
      • Vadim

        NO! How did you find out Shamir was formerly Jeziernicky? If he was from Belarus then I guess Israel has no right to exist… Damn.

        You see all these endless rounds of talks with the Hamas? All because of that damn policy.

        Reply to Comment
        • Average American

          Why didn’t you parrot the Lehi terrorist part?

          Reply to Comment
          • Vadim

            There are writers on this site that claim that damaging trees or spraying graffiti are acts of terror (as long as they are done by Jews). This over-usage strips the word out of its meaning. In addition, the discussion of Lehi and its similarity to modern day terrorist organization is way too complex for the comment section. Please forgive me for deciding to skip this part.

            Please notice that you’ve used someone that’s out of politics for almost 20 years and was in a small organization that doesn’t exist for more that 60 years. Is this the best “bad” thing you could come up with?

            Reply to Comment
          • Average American

            Actions instead of words show it’s still the policy, been the policy all that time. Zionism isn’t about sharing.

            Not commenting on a Lehi terrorist shaping the Israeli government is a complete dodge. We’re not talking about spraying paint with Lehi, come on. Perhaps in another post.

            Changing his name to sound local is duplicitous. USA would probably not have so much sympathy for Israel with Russian and Polish names in the government and he knew that. So does Meleikowsky know that. It would emphasize the fact that Russian and Polish foreigners have no claim to the local land.

            Sure Israel can do what it wants, sure it has it’s own laws. And it has my government expecting me to be in love with it.

            Fine. Just be honest about the people who formed it and the objectives it is pursuing.

            Reply to Comment
          • Vadim

            1. Like I said, you shouldn’t take the term Terrorist with the modern meaning attached to the word and use that on an organization that existed 60 years ago. I mean, you can do whatever you want, but it’s wrong historically.

            2. The transition made by Lehi and Ezel members – only shows that for them the Jewish state was the final goal. Hamas does not pursue this goal, Hamas pursues the destruction of Israel.

            3. The actions of Lehi are wrong by today’s standards (though the moral dilemma posed by keeping Jews in Europe is much more complex), but the thing is – Lehi was never mainstream. It was always considered extreme. Both Shamir and Begin became major politicians only decades later.

            4. Your theory regarding the names is a complete crap. The names are not “local”. They simply sound Hebrew or Jewish. People changed their names decades before the sympathy of the USA became relevant. Moreover, given our reliance on weapons from the former Soviet Union, original names may have more useful.

            5. I don’t think your government expects you love us any more than it expects you to love any other ally. On the other, if you are a bit honest, you’ll judge us by the same standards you judge others. You don’t.

            6. Zionism is about creating a Jewish state. Nothing more and nothing less. One has to have enough for himself to share.

            Reply to Comment
          • David T.

            1. Like I said, you shouldn’t take the term Terrorist with the modern meaning attached to the word and use that on an organization that existed 60 years ago. I mean, you can do whatever you want, but it’s wrong historically.”

            Lehi and Irgun were full scale terrorist organisations which attacked Arab citizens, too, bombed arab market places and busses. These were actually the first modern times terrorist organisations.

            “2. The transition made by Lehi and Ezel members – only shows that for them the Jewish state was the final goal.”

            Now, their dissolution into the IDF just shows there different methods to achive this goal was accepted by Israel. Their members even received military service ribbons.

            “Hamas does not pursue this goal, Hamas pursues the destruction of Israel.”

            Hamas persues the restoring of Palestinian’s rights and the reestablishment of the (then mandated) state of Palestine which was not only politically but physically ‘destroyed’ by Jewish paramalitary and terrorist groups in their coup d’etat of 1948 in which they razed more than 400 villages. Why don’t you blame them?

            Reply to Comment
    4. Jas

      Hamas is not the problem! The occupation is the problem and Hamas a result out of it. 1.7 Million civilians under the full control(water , land, air) of a apartheid state ! A state? which borders, which laws , etc ? a government which is producing apartheid laws! We talk about peace and they about piece by piece till they have everything! The problem are the roots and not the leaves. And the root is Israel!

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Occupation, from widely accepted in Palestine point of view, is the very existence of the state of Israel.

        Israel is definitely the root of the problem, however you will have to learn to live with the fact that Israel is here to stay. These obnoxious Jews just won’t give up the idea of having their own state. How racist.

        Reply to Comment

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