Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-10-Speech-3-116"

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". Mr President, since mid-July, when Hamas seized power in Gaza, one-and-a-half-million people have been confined to what the inhabitants themselves call a ghetto, a cattle farm. Even cancer patients are not allowed out of the region. Israel takes the view that they live in a hostile entity. The only things that come in are food, medicines and a few humanitarian goods – but people cannot live on just flour, lentils and medicines. Israel’s definition of humanitarian goods is absurdly restrictive. Components for medical devices cannot be imported, the water supply system cannot be repaired. There is a constant threat of Israel interrupting the energy supply. The economy of Gaza has collapsed, the people are unemployed and despondent, and there is no money left. Malnourishment is beginning to rear its head. The blockade breeds despondency, anger and hatred, not peace. Gaza is experiencing an unacceptable humanitarian crisis. Calls for assistance are growing and, on top of this, the costs of assistance are rising as a result of the blockade. Thus, the Member States must provide more financial support to UNRRA and the other organisations on site. The European Commission has already taken that step, as have some Member States. The European Parliament, too, yesterday voted in favour of increasing assistance. My group urges the Council to support that decision. Assistance alone is not enough, however. The Presidency has remained diffident, cautious, on the subject this evening – but the European Union can no longer take the moral responsibility for providing assistance, whilst refraining from taking political action against the blockade. On behalf of my group, I would therefore request that the Presidency, the Council and the European Commission call on Israel to end the blockade immediately. In Gaza the whole population is being punished – which is illegal under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Besides, this method does not befit Israel, and the European Union should be telling Israel this instead of remaining passive – precisely because it is an ally. This would give meaning to the Association Agreement with Israel, as only by taking action against the blockade will the EU do justice to the section on human rights."@en1

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