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Europe Calls for Lifting Gaza Blockade Following Flotilla Attack

By Chowa Choo
Epoch Times Staff
Created: May 31, 2010 Last Updated: June 1, 2010
Related articles: World » Middle East
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A demonstrator holds a sign near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem on May 31, during the protest by Israeli and Palestinian activists, following the lethal attack on the Gaza flotilla.  (Gali Tibbon/Getty Images)

A demonstrator holds a sign near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem on May 31, during the protest by Israeli and Palestinian activists, following the lethal attack on the Gaza flotilla. (Gali Tibbon/Getty Images)

Following the lethal attack on the flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, the European Union reiterated calls to lift the blockade on Gaza, immediately and unconditionally.

Catherine Ashton, EU chief of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who was visiting Warsaw on Monday, told reporters that she has called on Israel to open the crossing into Gaza so that humanitarian aid can be assured. Ashton said she has personally seen the unfortunate plight of civilians in Gaza.

Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, said the Israel attack was “unjustified” and urged Ashton to pressure Israel to lift the “siege.”

In a statement on Monday, Bernard Kouchner, the French minister of Foreign Affairs, said the attack is a reminder that the current situation in Gaza urgently requires a political response.

Other angry politicians call on the EU to impose economic sanctions on Israel.

According a delegation from the European Parliament, which visited Gaza last week, the blockade has completely isolated and condemned the people in Gaza to live in extreme poverty, with 80 percent being dependent on food aid. In addition, they believe the situation is playing into the hands of the most radical Islamist factions.

Israel and Egypt have blocked the Gaza Strip since June 2007, when Hamas took control of the territory after winning an armed conflict with the Palestinian Fatah, following a successful election by Hamas in 2006.Israel argues that the blockade cuts the supply of Qassam missiles, which are used to attack Israel, while Egypt will not recognize the militant group Hamas as an official Palestinian Authority.




   

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