Council of Europe report accuses Israel of 'systematic killing' in Gaza
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe voted to adopt the report that places blame for humanitarian situation in Gaza on Israel, calling on it to lift blockade, bring Palestinians in to work and formulate a long-term plan to establish a Palestinian state.
The vote was held in Strasbourg, France and passed by a majority of 45-12, with two abstentions.
The report states that Israel is responsible for the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, including "Cases of the deliberate fatal shooting of individuals who posed no imminent danger to life amounts to an appalling pattern of apparently systematic unlawful killings."
It calls on the countries of the European Union to back a formal investigation by the International Criminal Court.
The Chairman of the Knesset delegation to the meeting, Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), and MK Eli Alaluf (Kulanu) were present during the meeting. The two worked with the Foreign Ministry in recent days to convince delegations to object to the report's conclusions, to no avail.
The report also called for an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip so that medical supplies and vital goods can be provided for residents of the strip. The report also demanded that Palestinians be allowed to seek work in Israel and that Israel prepare a long-term plan to establish a Palestinian state.
The report also stated, "Since the 2014 Israeli military operation in Gaza, the (humanitarian) situation has worsened significantly: over 2,200 people have died, of whom most were civilians, including 551 children; more than 11,000 people have been injured; over 12,620 houses have been totally destroyed and 6,455 severely damaged; and 28 percent of the population of Gaza has been displaced."
The report also made demands of the Palestinian Authority, including the need to prevent acts of terrorism and condemn them.
MK Aliza Lavie spoke before the assembly and called on it to reject the report. "This is a misrepresentation that selectively distorts reality," she said. "This report is based on hearsay and not facts. We removed our citizens and even our dead from Gaza in 2005 and in return, we were immediately hit with missiles. Israel provides a third of the electricity, worth billions of dollars, to the Gaza Strip free of charge, while 130,000 Palestinians were given medical aid for free in Israel last year alone, including family members of (Hamas leader) Ismail Haniyeh, and we are the ones being blamed for a humanitarian crisis?"
"Where are the millions sent from the European Council to the Palestinians to rebuild the Gaza Strip? Where did the money go?" demanded Lavi while confronting Swedish parliament member Eva Janson.
MK Alaluf added, "Israel wants to live in peace with its neighbors. Gaza is not under siege, but regulated in order to protect the citizens of the State of Israel, Jews and Arabs alike. I hope that one day we can seriously discuss these issues together in order to build a better future for the region."