Gaza, during the October 2023 Israeli bombing (Photo: UNRWA)
Within the corridors of diplomacy, an unsettling silence hangs heavy when it comes to addressing the predicament of Gaza.
This silence is entangled in narratives that are often influenced by politics — and frequently deviate from the heart-wrenching realities on the ground.
As the ambassador of Palestine to the EU, I find myself questioning: can the European Union afford to remain divided, and as a result passive, in the face of heinous acts?
Recent developments in Gaza have reverberated across the globe. Images of devastation, stories of despair, and tales of loss permeate our consciousness.
However, for EU member states these experiences remain echoes, amidst a complex situation — further complicated by an onslaught of misleading or outright false information.
The EU — a union of nations renowned for championing democracy, human rights and justice — now stands at a crossroads. Mounting criticism regarding its lack of a stance on Gaza instills fear that its leaders fail to grasp the picture painted with dark shades of oppression, occupation and settler colonialism.
Allow me to emphasise that the situation unfolding in Gaza is not a matter of ‘concern’. It represents a struggle deeply-ingrained in decades of systematic oppression.
When we take a glance at the West Bank we can see that the actions of the radical Israeli government and occupation forces are not isolated incidents. They serve as a preview of the challenges we face and the bleak future that awaits if we don’t address the root causes of our suffering.
The distressing images coming out of Gaza have an impact on our conscience. The more than 1,800 children who have been killed by Israel, the occupying power, are not just numbers or fleeting glimpses. They represent evidence of crimes that will forever haunt our humanity. These children are not simply individuals; they symbolise a generation who should have carried Palestine’s legacy forward.
Furthermore, when infrastructure, hospitals, churches, mosques and other cultural treasures are destroyed it is not about structures. It is an attack on Palestinian identity — a tapestry woven over thousands of years by diverse civilisations, faiths and cultures.
As Palestinians, we do not seek sympathy or distorted portrayals. What we ask for is understanding from the world—the recognition that our struggle is about justice, dignity and our fundamental right, to self-determination. The intertwined issues of occupation, settler colonialism and pervasive oppression form the core of our story.
No ‘ceasefire’ call?
However, there is a strong concern that despite the escalating hostilities lasting for 17 days, the EU has not unequivocally called for a ceasefire.
The EU’s failure to strongly oppose the aggression against civilians, nor firmly advocate for an end to hostilities, sharply contrasts with its professed commitment to peace and justice.
Moreover, the awaited realisation of a state — a symbol of freedom, independence and self-determination — remains elusive. The EU’s hesitancy in championing this cause adds to the mounting disappointment caused by its promises.
The European Union stands at a juncture armed with power and influence. Will it continue down the path of observation? Will it rise united in purpose to confront reality? I implore the EU to harness its strength, challenge misconceptions, and address the essence of our plight.
To the press entrusted with shaping narratives: approach our story with open eyes and ears. Chronicle our journey not through notions but with a genuine eagerness to uncover the truth. It is through your words and images that our existence is perceived by the world.
Sign up for EUobserver’s daily newsletter
All the stories we publish, sent at 7.30 AM.
Time is of importance. The question of Palestine — with all its intricacies and challenges — calls, for comprehension. And concerted action.
The role of the European Union is crucial in this endeavour. I implore its leaders and citizens; do not ignore our pleas. Join us in our pursuit of justice and lasting peace.
Europe, with its history of upholding justice and international law, now has a path:
Advocate for an impartial investigation: Europe should take the lead in demanding an impartial, transparent, and comprehensive investigation into the war crimes and human rights breaches committed in both Gaza and the West Bank by Israel, the occupying power. The pursuit of truth and justice cannot be compromised.
Uphold international law: Europe’s commitment to standards, including humanitarian law and human rights law, should be reflected through concrete actions.
It is the responsibility of the EU to ensure adherence to these laws in Palestine while championing the rights and well-being of its people.
Our plea to Europe is not a cry for empathy; it is a call for tangible solidarity. We Palestinians are not asking for interventions or unwarranted favouritism. We urge Europe to stand beside us with understanding recognising our pursuit of justice, dignity and self-determination.
Dismantling the occupation and settlements is not merely a request — it is an obligation.
The European Union with its political influence has the ability and responsibility to advocate more strongly for these objectives. Just as it took a stance against apartheid in South Africa, Europe must now demonstrate its opposition, to the injustices occurring in Palestine.
While the concept of a solution based on the borders established in 1967 is not new it serves as a starting point. This framework has gained recognition, including from the EU. However, acknowledging it is one thing; actively working towards its realisation is another matter altogether.
Temporary or partial solutions that favour one side over the other do not provide resolutions at all. Instead, they act as fixes for deep-rooted and bleeding wounds.
To genuinely address the causes of this crisis we must tackle issues related to oppression, occupation and the denial of fundamental rights on a global scale.