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EU Strongly Condemns Rocket Fire

Israel pleased as EU takes strong stance on Hamas’ rocket fire, use of civilian shields.
By Shlomo Pyoterkovsky, M. Miskin
First Publish: 7/22/2014, 10:33 PM

Scene of a rocket strike in Ashdod
Scene of a rocket strike in Ashdod
Reuters

The European Union has issued a strong condemnation of Hamas’ attacks on Israel and human rights abuses within Gaza.

A statement published after a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers condemned “the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip, directly harming civilians.”

It called on Hamas to immediately end its attacks and renounce violence, and said that all Gaza terrorist groups must “lay down their weapons.”

The EU also condemned “calls on the civilian population of Gaza to offer themselves as human shields” – a sign of recognition of Israel’s repeated warnings that Hamas is deliberately putting Gaza civilians in harm’s way.

The statement supported “Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself,” but called for Israel’s response to be “proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law.” Many Western media outlets have condemned Israel’s counter-terror operation as “disproportionate.”

Sources in the Foreign Ministry expressed satisfaction with the EU statement. “The European Union is increasingly relating to Hamas as a terrorist organization… The Foreign Ministry also welcomes the European Union’s call to disarm terrorist groups,” they said.

“These statements from the European Union correspond with the views that guide Israel in its struggle against terrorism, and create an opportunity for cooperation,” they continued.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman praised the statement, saying it “makes it clear that the free world is united against Hamas terrorism, and that Israel has every right to defend itself.”