Middle East

European Parliament debates legal, political implications of Israel's genocide in Gaza

French lawmaker argues members of parliament still see what is happening in Gaza within framework of Israel's right to self-defense

Selen Valente Rasquinho  | 23.02.2024 - Update : 28.02.2024
European Parliament debates legal, political implications of Israel's genocide in Gaza


The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) organized the event "Gaza: Legal and political implications of genocide," hosted by the Green Group in the European Parliament.

The event was moderated by Maha Abdallah, legal researcher at the Ramallah-based human rights organization "Al-Haq," and Yosra Frawes, legal advisor at FIDH.

Speakers at the event included French MP Mounir Satouri from the Greens Group, South African Ambassador to The Hague Vusi Madonsela, South African lawyer and human rights expert Kayan Leung, FIDH Vice President lawyer Alexis Deswaef, Prosecutor Johann Soufi, an expert on international criminal law and human rights, and former Belgian Federal Parliament Member and Senator Simone Susskind.

Satouri criticized the fact that there are still MEPs in the EP who see what is happening in Gaza within the framework of Israel's right to self-defense and said that this is coming from people who represent Europe.

Referring to the EP elections to be held in June, MP Satouri said that European voters will make a different choice this time than ever before.

Satouri stressed the need to cancel the Association Agreement between the EU and Israel.

South Africa's solidarity with the Palestinian people

South African Ambassador Madonsela said that his country took the violations suffered by Palestinians as a result of the apartheid experience to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as a "moral obligation."

Madonsela said that nothing changed in Israel's attitude after their application. On the contrary, the attacks continued to increase, and said, "This shows the intention to commit genocide."

He criticized Arab countries for not putting pressure on the West even though they have the tools at their disposal.

Proposal to recognize Palestine as a state

Simone Susskind reminded us that in 2015, the Belgian Federal Parliament approved a resolution calling for recognizing Palestine as a state and stated that Belgium must stand by this resolution.

Susskind called on all European countries to recognize a Palestinian state as a first step.

Call for pressure on European governments

Deswaef said that they are working with 188 organizations from 116 countries and continued, "We work under difficult conditions. We are trying to collect information about crimes."

Deswaef called on the EP to take action by condemning Israel and pressuring their governments to stop the sale of arms and ammunition to Israel.

The importance of international solidarity

Lawyer Leung also said that as a South African human rights defender, he wanted to stress that international solidarity is very effective in such situations.

Prosecutor Soufi stated that Israel has a responsibility under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to recognize Israel's actions in Gaza as genocide.

Soufi pointed out that international law has frustrated him throughout his professional career because states are the ultimate decision-makers.

This should not be an excuse for inaction, Soufi said, adding that the people and their representatives should mobilize through boycotts and demonstrations.

At the end of the panel, which was widely attended, slogans in support of Palestine were chanted.

*Writing by Zeynep Cetin

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