Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

15 Sep, 2014

Israeli Professor blasts Europeans for looking the other way as Israel unleashed “holocaust” in Gaza

BRUSSELS, Belgium, Sept 14 (NNN-KUNA) – A well-known Israeli academic and human rights activist, lambasted the Israeli atrocities being committed against the Palestinians in Gaza, but also condemned the West’s double-faced policy on the Palestine question.

“I am a linguist and therefore very conscious of the power of words. What has been happening in Gaza for the last 14 years and reached its peak during Ramadan this summer, is nothing less than a holocaust,” said Nurit Peled, an Israeli professor of language and education, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

She was speaking at a public hearing, on the situation of children in the armed conflict in Gaza, hosted by the Subcommittee on Human rights, in the European Parliament (EP).

Peled is also a winner of the European Parliament’s human rights award in 2001.

“When a powerful state (Israel) declares that its doctrine is to consider a whole nation as its enemy and uses its mafia logic that says, you can kill women and children and old people ,… and when the army applies every possible means, in a consistent destruction of a whole country and its population, this is not war but a holocaust,” she told the jam-packed room in the EP.

“The truth is that today we have too many forms of holocaust around the world, in which strong states with huge armies subjugate weaker people to a life of unending torture and suffering,” she noted.

“In the recent Gaza conflict, the Israeli army was targeting the most crowded area in the world with the most ferocious and frequently illegal weapons,” said the Israeli professor.

She noted that over 2,000 people were killed, including 600 children and old people, 200 women and more than 20,000 people handicapped, blinded and brain damaged, during the last Israeli military attack on Gaza.

Up to 50,000 houses and more than 200 schools and 200 mosques and 70 hospitals and rehabilitation centres destroyed, she said, adding that “this is the destruction of a whole society and for the Palestinians it is a holocaust.”

Peled said, “Israeli soldiers are indoctrinated that Palestinian children are not human beings like us, but problems who should be eliminated.”

This does not seem to interest the international community. States from the European Union did all they could, to prevent the victims from pressing charges against their tormentors,” she stated.

“The western enlightened world keeps arming the Israelis, take them into more partnership after every massacre, upgrade their status in the EU,” said the Israeli professor.

“The lame excuse used by the West, especially by Europe, for not interfering is that, they do not want to be called anti-Semitic. This is a lame excuse because we all know that every single country in Europe profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” she said.

“You cannot afford using this excuse any more, when children are being slaughtered and holocaust is raging. I am not afraid of being called a traitor, for standing up with the oppressed,” said Peled.

On her part, Elena Valenciano, chair of the committee , said, many children in Europe have gone back to schools last week, but this will not be happening in Gaza because many schools have been destroyed.

She said that Israel has prevented delegations from political groups in the EP from visiting Gaza, and urged Tel Aviv, to allow an EP delegation to visit Gaza, to see the situation and contribute in resolving the conflict.

Matthias Burchard, Director for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) at the EU office said, the latest Israeli onslaught had “devastating impact on the children in Gaza.” He stressed that, without the lifting of the Israeli blockade on Gaza, there cannot be a permanent ceasefire.

Burchard called on the EU to raise its voice, to advocate the lifting of the illegal blockade, support investigations of violations of international law and perpetrators brought to justice and support reconstruction in Gaza. “Gaza children must be spared from future suffering and denial of the most basic of human rights,” said the UN official.

Leila Shahid, Palestinian ambassador to the EU, paid tribute to the work of UNRWA, noting that the agency lost several of its workers during the latest conflict and urged the EP to give financial support to UNRWA.

She told the committee that “your duty as parliamentarians is not to negotiate on our behalf. Your duty is to put an end to the occupation in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. This will be your greatest contribution,” she said and called on the committee to send a delegation to visit Gaza.

Several MEPs called for a suspension of the EU-Israeli Association Agreement, and to impose sanctions on Israel for its atrocities in Gaza.– NNN-KUNA