Gaza Violence Condemned By Scottish MEP

08 November 2006
SNP MEP Alyn Smith who has recently returned from a European Parliamentfact finding trip to Palestine and Israel has condemned the recent violence in the Gaza strip which has left many civilians dead and injured,including women and children.

Joined by his Plaid Cymru colleague Jill Evans the cross party delegation have signed a statement calling on the EU to consider imposing trade sanctions against Israel if human rights abuses continue. The statement also calls on Palestinians to work towards establishing a national unity government and to take all possible measures to stop the firing of rockets into Israel.

The full text of the statement is below.

The SNP's Europe Spokesman, Alyn Smith MEP said:

"What we saw in Gaza just last week was absolutely shocking. The hardship and suffering faced by ordinary Palestinians almost defies belief. While I of course condemn Palestinian violence against Israelis the recent killing of civilians by the Israeli army is an outrage which deserves international condemnation.

"The EU now has a duty to intervene forcefully and we must review our trade agreement with Israel in the light of the rising number of civilian deaths and continued breaches of previous agreements between the Israelis and Palestinians."

Plaid Cymru's Jill Evans MEP said:

"In our visit we saw that Gaza is literally under siege. Factories and workshops have been bombed as well as the power station which supplied Gaza with half its electricity. In the Shifa Hospital we heard how the hospital was running on borrowed emergency generators. Three hundred Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli Defence Force since May, 42 of them children, and the number is rising.

"The gravity of the situation means we have to consider the imposition ofEU trade sanctions against Israel if the killing of civilians continues."



The joint statement signed today by a cross party delegation of MEPs is below:

We, the undersigned Members of the European Parliament, recently returned from a fact finding mission to Israel and Palestine, are shocked and appalled by what we have seen and experienced in Gaza. Due to economic sanctions, almost all public institutions have shut down. The hospitals are overcrowded and receive neither money nor sufficient medicine. The public employees have not been paid for months. More amputations than ever are necessary. The doctors told us that some deadly injuries are not caused by traditional weapons but most likely by new and unheard-of chemical ones. They have not had the time to examine the dead bodies yet as they are busy dealing with the wounds of those who have survived.The closure of Rafah and Karni crossing for person and goods is making Gaza an open prison. The last few days in Gaza have seen horrible carnage.* We call upon Israel to stop the violation of human rights and repeated breaches of the Geneva Conventions.* We call for a complete ceasefire by Israel, an immediate withdrawal of troops from Gaza and to stop the military incursion in theWest Bank.* We strongly object to the description by Israel of those it has killed as "terrorists".* We call and insist that the EU should review the association agreement and consider imposition of sanctions on Israel unless it ceases the killing of civilians and the violation of human rights, thus complying with article 2 of the association agreement.* We urge Hamas and Fatah and all the democratic Palestinian forces,even under these circumstances, not to stop the effort to form a Unity Government as already agreed on the document of national reconciliation which recognizes the 1967 borders for the state of Palestine and Israeland to take every possible measure to halt the firing of Qassam rockets.* We call upon the EU to open dialogue with all the Palestinian national institutions and to put pressure on the Israeli government to release the tax revenues confiscated from the Palestinian government.* We ask the UN and the quartet to send international forces to protect the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations, while calling for an international conference with all the parties involved reaching acomprehensive and just peace for the area.

MEP Karin Resetarits (A), ALDEMEP Chris Davies (UK), ALDEMEP John Bowis (UK), EPPMEP Gyula Hegyi (H), SPEMEP Alyn Smith (Scotland), SNP (EFA - GREENS Group)MEP Jill Evans (Wales), Plaid Cymru (EFA-GREENS Group)MEP Hélène Flautre (F), GREENSMEP Luisa Morgantini (I), GUEMEP Miguel Portas (P), GUEMEP Allesandro Battilocchio (I), N.I.MP Norman Paech (D), Die Linke