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21 Oct, 2023 23:39

EU staff accuse commission chief of hypocrisy on Gaza – media

More than 800 European officials have reportedly accused Ursula von der Leyen of “double standards”
EU staff accuse commission chief of hypocrisy on Gaza – media

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is turning a blind eye to Israel’s “war crimes” in Gaza, hundreds of EU staffers wrote in a letter circulating within the bloc’s institutions, the Irish Times reported on Friday. 

The European Commission is giving a “free hand to the acceleration and legitimacy of a war crime in the Gaza Strip,” the letter signed by 842 people states. It was reportedly circulated among diplomats and staffers at the Commission and other EU bodies.

While the missive opens with a condemnation of Hamas’ attack on Israel earlier this month, it follows with an “equally strong” condemnation of what the writers describe as “the disproportionate reaction by the Israeli government against 2.3 million Palestinian civilians trapped in the Gaza Strip,” accusing von der Leyen of a “double standard.” 

The letter claims she “completely ignored” Israel’s blockade stopping water and fuel from reaching Gaza, while noting that she described an “identical act” by Russia as “terror.”

In reality, at no point has Moscow ever tried to cut off these supplies to Ukraine. However, from 2014-2022, Kiev did deny the Russian region of Crimea access to water, by blocking a crucial dam.

Moscow did strike power grids in Ukraine from late 2022, insisting that they were being used to power its military. it added that the strikes were a retaliation against attacks on Russian soil, most notably the bombing of the Crimean Bridge in October 2022.

In a letter to von der Leyen, the signatories reportedly argued that she had unconditionally backed Israel without consultations with EU member states, while others suggested it was incumbent upon Brussels to use its influence to push for a peaceful settlement to the decades-old conflict and demand the reimposition of “basic human rights and international law” in Palestine.

One diplomat who signed said they were “embarrassed” by von der Leyen’s belligerent tone, lamenting her abandonment of “the values on which the EU was built.” 

“As a European, I do not want any war crimes supported in my name,” another signatory wrote.

Von der Leyen had the Israeli flag projected onto the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels and reiterated her support for the country when meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week. She later stated that “Israel’s right to defend itself against the Hamas terrorists” must be conducted “in full respect of international humanitarian law.”