European pressure on Israel to end Gaza Strip blockade
European Union lawmakers called on Israel on Thursday not to inflict "collective punishment" on Gaza Strip's population, saying its isolation of the coastal territory had failed and its actions were endangering civilians. According to Reuters, they urged Israel to lift a blockade and let in aid and essential goods and services.
"The policy of isolation of the Gaza strip has failed at both the political and humanitarian level," the European Parliament said. "The civilian population should be exempt from any military action and any collective punishment." "The European Parliament calls on Israel to cease military actions killing and endangering civilians, and extrajudicial targeted killings," the resolution said.
The lawmakers also urged Hamas to prevent the firing of rockets into Israel. They called on the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas to hold a dialogue with Hamas.
Earlier in the day, an Israeli official said the European Union is increasing pressure on Tel Aviv to end its blockade. "EU ministers are expressing growing concern over the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the lack of progress in the peace talks" with the Palestinians, he told AFP.
"Our embassies in Europe report increasing pressure to try to end the blockade."
On her part, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Thursday that support for Hamas was undermining peace efforts. "Europe must understand that Hamas is not an organization that is interested in forming a state," she said during talks in Jerusalem with her Romanian counterpart.
"Any indirect support of Hamas, even it is done through discussions on the crossings or the humanitarian situation, weakens those who are interested in reaching an agreement," she said, according to a foreign ministry statement.