|Gaza: UN force and international peace conference needed - Morgantini
Strongly denouncing the Israeli military operations in Beit Hanun and Israel's war against Gaza and the West bank in general, the President of the Development Committee of the European Parliament, Luisa Morgantini MEP today said in reaction to the European Parliament's resolution on Gaza that Israel's indiscriminate attacks represent a serious breach of the principles of the Geneva Convention amounting to a war crime and called for an international UN force to protect civilians.
"We need an international UN observation and protection mission with peacekeeping troops to be sent to Gaza.. Those under attack need protection and assistance. The international community has a duty to protect civilians, to stop the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, put an end to house demolitions and the destruction of infrastructure.
Morgantini stressed that mutual Israeli-Palestinian recognition is essential in this crisis. This means that "the international community should recognize the democratically elected government of Palestine and to support the efforts made by all Palestinian political forces and President Mahoumud Abbas to form a new unity government which should make all efforts to stop Palestinian militia groups firing rockets on Israeli towns and people."
On the issue of Israel's withholding of Palestinian customs duties, Morgantini argued that the EU and the Quartet must force Israel to return the funds confiscated from Palestine. "It is unacceptable that Israel is still withholding Palestinian tax and customs revenues and aggravating the Palestinian humanitarian crisis" she said. "The funds must be immediately transferred". Morgantini also welcomed the call in today's European Parliament resolution for an urgent meeting on the EU-Israel Association Agreement and the application of article two, according to which, in the case of violations of human rights the agreement should be suspended. She said there was "no doubt about the human rights violations committed by the Israeli government".
Morgantini concluded by calling for an immediate international conference for a just peace in the Middle East. "Any negotiations on an overall peace agreement should be based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the certainty of a Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel with Jerusalem as a shared capital.
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The GUE/NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left) Group is the fifth largest group in the European Parliament and is made up of forty-one MEPs from sixteen parties in thirteen European countries.
Le Groupe GUE/NGL (Gauche unitaire européenne/Gauche verte nordique) est le cinquième groupe du Parlement européen par la taille. Il est composé de 41 députés issus de 16 partis politiques de 13 pays européens.