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EuropeEU officials criticise von der Leyen over Israel stance

EU officials criticise von der Leyen over Israel stance

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s position of ‘unconditional support’ for Israel, is criticise in a letter from EU officials working around the world

A petition from European officials denouncing the statements and actions of Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, is circulating and is already signed by more than 850 European officials. Though, civil servants are not in the habit of petitioning against those in power.

“We, a group of EU Commission and other EU institutions’ staff solemnly condemn on personal grounds the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas against helpless civilians (…). We equally strongly condemn the disproportionate reaction by the Israeli government against the 2.3 million Palestinian civilians trapped in the Gaza Strip”, they written.

And: “Precisely because of these atrocities, we are surprised by the stance the European Commission has taken – and even other EU institutions – promoting what has been described in the press as European cacophony.”

They affirm that “this support is expressed in an uncontrolled manner” and are concerned about “the apparent indifference shown in recent days by our institution with regard to the current massacre of civilians in the Gaza Strip, in disregard of the rights of human rights and international humanitarian law.

The position of the President of the European Commission on the conflict between Hamas and Israel, and her trip to the Hebrew State where she was invited without any consultation, on Friday October 13, and where she spoke before the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his country had “the right” and “even the duty to defend and protect its population. » She did not even remind us that Israel must respect international law and be measured in its response.

Ursula von der Leyen bypassed the European Council, and ignored the separation of powers within the EU, according to which foreign policy is not determined by the Commission.

She not only exceeded her prerogatives but she made and allowed comments to be made that weaken the voice of the European Union at a time when the latter had the opportunity to be an important player.

Indeed, on October 9, two days after the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel. The Hungarian Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy, Olivér Várhelyi, declares that the European executive will re-examine its development aid for the Palestinians (1.2 billion euros, 33% of the Palestinian budget), and that they will be “immediately suspended”. the European Commission had to backpedal after criticism from other European institutions as well as in several European capitals. Subsequently, more than 70 members of the European Parliament called for the resignation of the Hungarian commissioner.

Some EU officials and member states also criticised von der Leyen, who visited Israel, for not declaring that the EU expects Israel to abide by international humanitarian law in its response to the attack, as other EU leaders did.

“The position of the member states was expressed in particular through the Council, in this case by [High Representative Josep] Borrell, after the debate between the member states,” an Elysée source said after an initial extraordinary EU foreign ministers meeting on the matter.

These statements were perceived in the Arab world as a total alignment of the EU with Israel’s position. The Commission then tried to make up for the devastating effect created by announcing €50 million in aid. On Sunday, a press release was published to reiterate the position of the 27: Israel has the right to defend itself in accordance with international law and the EU is always in favor of two states.

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