Response to massacre of 60 Palestinians by Israeli security forces

The following statement from Molly Scott Cato MEP has been issued in relation to the massacre of 60 Palestinians and the injury of hundreds more by Israeli security forces on Monday 14th May 2018.

The brutal massacre of 60 Palestinians by the Israeli security forces on Monday has been rightly condemned across the world including by leading members of the Jewish community and their organisations. With casualties as young as 8 months old, this atrocity is the latest brutal instalment of decades of military oppression and violence against the Palestinian people. The attacks at the Gaza border have reached a level that is entirely disproportionate and have resulted in the deaths of more than a hundred unarmed Palestinians this year alone, including journalists and children. The cynical attempt to blame the victims and to blame Hamas for this violence is particularly despicable.   

The systematic policy of segregation, subjection and humiliation of Palestinians, combined with the ongoing occupation of their land and the siege of Gaza, has acted as a catalyst for the continuation of this bloody conflict. It has left Palestinian and Israeli populations living in fear and has crushed the foundations needed for a just and lasting peace.

It is in this context that the decision by the Trump administration to move its Embassy to Jerusalem was so reckless and deliberately provocative. It also violates international law and breaches longstanding diplomatic agreements. It has been rightly condemned by most nations including by our own Foreign Secretary. The decision to ‘celebrate’ this move a day before the 70th anniversary of the ‘Naqba’ – the expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland and the creation of the modern state of Israel – is deliberately inflammatory and led directly to the violence and death we have witnessed.

Throughout these turbulent times solidarity is more important than ever. On the anniversary of the ‘Naqba’ I recorded this video in solidarity with the Palestinian people.  

I have always supported the struggle of the Palestinian people and have strongly condemned the illegal activities of the Israeli state. I was one of the authors of a previous resolution in the European Parliament condemning the ruthless killing of 39 protestors in Gaza that resulted from the grossly disproportionate use of force by Israeli Army.

During a recent visit to Brussels we demanded that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, repay the EU at least 1.5 million Euros for the demolition of homes, schools, playgrounds, water and electricity infrastructure that was funded by the EU. We also continue to reject goods produced in Israeli settlements on illegally occupied lands. These goods should not be entering the European market.

By failing to stand up for international law and basic human dignity the international community is an accomplice in this tragic situation. Our government’s continued sale of millions of pounds worth of UK arms to Israel, despite the continued violations of International Humanitarian Law, is legally dubious and morally repugnant. The sale of rifles, small arms ammunition, weapon sights and a huge list of other military equipment shows that the UK is complicit in the slaughter. These sales must stop immediately.   

I am proud that as an MEP I was able to vote in the European Parliament for the recognition of the state of Palestine and I will continue to stand in solidarity with those seeking non-violent routes to ending the conflict. Greens will be seeking support from other political groups for an urgent debate in the next European Parliamentary plenary session and we will continue to demand that Israel respects the fundamental values of freedom, equality and respect for international law.