EU diplomats demand Israel lift Gaza blockade

More than 20 senior European diplomats call on Israel to end its naval blockade of Gaza, which a UN team has said is legal.

Ben Ariel ,

Gaza border fence
Gaza border fence
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

More than 20 senior European diplomats on Tuesday visited Gaza and demanded that Israel end its naval blockade on the coastal enclave, AFP reported.

Ambassadors from 22 European Union states visited to assess the state of Gaza's reconstruction in a trip organized and led by the EU.

It was the first such delegation since late 2014, which took place after that summer's war with Israel.

Ralph Tarraf, head of the EU delegation, called on Israel to end the blockade on Gaza, saying the Jewish state should take "steps to bring about a political, security and economic change."

He said all sides should work towards "ending the closure, taking into account the legitimate security concerns of the Gaza Strip's neighbors."

Israel imposed a naval blockade on Gaza in 2006, shortly after Hamas violently took control of the area from Fatah. The reason for the blockade is to prevent Hamas from smuggling in weapons and explosives.

UN officials argue that such actions are collective punishment and have repeatedly called for the blockade to be eased or lifted.

However, the United Nations-backed Palmer report, released in 2011, determined that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is perfectly legal.

Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers constantly claim that the region is under an “Israeli siege”, ignoring the fact that Israel continuously allows humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Israel has approved hundreds of internationally funded and monitored projects in Gaza and continues to do so even as Gaza terrorists fire rockets and missiles onto Israeli towns.

Meanwhile, Hamas is the one that has tried to punish the residents of Gaza by attempting to reduce the scope of Israeli goods entering the region.

The EU provides around $330,000 million (300 million euros) to the Palestinian Authority annually, with almost half of this going to Gaza, a spokesman said Tuesday, according to AFP.



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