More than 800 European officials have accused Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, of “double standards” for turning a blind eye to Israel’s alleged “war crimes” in Gaza. The allegations were made in a letter that has been circulating among EU institutions and was reported by The Irish Times on Friday.
The letter, signed by 842 people, states that the European Commission is giving a “free hand to the acceleration and legitimacy of a war crime in the Gaza Strip.” While the letter begins with a condemnation of Hamas’ attack on Israel, it also strongly condemns what the writers describe as the “disproportionate reaction by the Israeli government against 2.3 million Palestinian civilians trapped in the Gaza Strip.” The letter accuses von der Leyen of applying a “double standard” in her stance on the conflict.
The letter specifically criticizes von der Leyen for ignoring Israel’s blockade on water and fuel reaching Gaza, while simultaneously describing a similar act by Russia as “terror.” The signatories argue that von der Leyen unconditionally backed Israel without consulting EU member states. They suggest that it is Brussels’ responsibility to use its influence to promote a peaceful settlement to the conflict and demand the restoration of “basic human rights and international law” in Palestine.
One diplomat who signed the letter expressed embarrassment at von der Leyen’s belligerent tone and abandonment of the values on which the EU was built. Another signatory wrote, “As a European, I do not want any war crimes supported in my name.”
Von der Leyen has publicly shown her support for Israel. She had the Israeli flag projected onto the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels and reiterated her support for the country when she met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, she also stated that Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas terrorists must be conducted “in full respect of international humanitarian law.”
The letter highlights the internal division within the EU regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some officials believe that von der Leyen’s support for Israel is one-sided and fails to address the alleged war crimes committed in Gaza. They argue that the EU should take a more active role in promoting peace and upholding international law in the region.
In conclusion, the letter circulating among EU officials accuses Ursula von der Leyen of “double standards” for ignoring alleged war crimes in Gaza and unconditionally supporting Israel. The signatories argue that the EU should use its influence to promote peace and demand the restoration of human rights and international law in Palestine. This internal division within the EU highlights the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the challenges faced in finding a peaceful resolution.