Letter to Pres. Jose Manuel Barroso from the European Jews for a Just Peace on the Cutting of EU Aid to the Palestinian population

Sehr geehrte Leserin, Sehr geehrter Leser,
obgenannter Brief an Präs. Barroso wurde ebenfalls an Sr. Javier Solana,
Secretary General of the Council of the European Union gesendet.

Die Redaktion

--- Weitergeleitete Nachricht ---
Betreff: Letter to Pres. Barroso from the European Jews for a Just Peace on
the Cutting of EU Aid to the Palestinian population
Datum: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 16:53:13 +0200

President Jose Manuel Barroso
European Commission
Rue de la Loi 200
1049 Brussels

Amsterdam, April, 10th 2006

Dear President Barroso,

It is with great dismay, shock and concern that we note the proposed cutting
of aid from the European Union to the Palestinian population. This amounts
to a collective punishment meted out to approximately 3,500,000
Palestinians. Forcing people to go hungry is not an acceptable tool of
international diplomacy. Yet that is exactly what this policy amounts to.

The Karni checkpoint has been closed for goods, leaving the people of Gaza
without basic staples. At the same time Gazan fishermen are being denied
access to fishing grounds prevented from catching fish, in grounds defined
by international agreement as Palestinian, by the Israeli navy. The Israeli
Army's repeated shelling of the Gaza Strip has killed children as young as
five years old. 

In addition, one Israeli bank, the Bank Hapoalim, has now stopped the
transfer of money to the Palestinian territories. If others follow suit,
there will be no way of transferring funds to organizations and even family
members from abroad because all funds must go through Israeli correspondent

These are measures enacted against a population many of whom are already
forced to live as recipients of charity from abroad because of the Israeli
occupation. A people is being starved and humiliated. They are losing their
property and being put in ghettos erected by the State of Israel, with its
wall and settlements. Despite these being illegal, punitive measures such as
those now proposed against the Palestinians have not even been considered
against Israel. Indeed, any call whatsoever for divestment, boycott - or
even for compliance with the EU's own trade association agreement rules -
are dismissed as unconstructive. We must ask then, how is this decision to
cut aid a constructive one?

The European Union - among others - cannot demand democratic elections and
then proceed to punish people because they do not like the result. Hamas has
taken no anti-Israeli action since their election victory. Indeed, Hamas has
taken no action against Israel for over a year. 

This policy risks catastrophe, first and foremost for the Palestinians. It
is bound to lead to more violence for Israelis as well. A people - not a
government - frustrated and humiliated as the Palestinians are being will
react with anger. Is it possible that the European Union is not aware of

Both as Jews and as European citizens to whom the EU is ultimately
responsible, we urge in the strongest possible terms that this decision is
reconsidered to prevent further violence. This policy cannot but bring more
tragedy to both peoples living in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Yours sincerely,

Dror Feiler (Chair), for the EJJP Executive Committee