As a network of civil society organisations committed to human rights, justice, equality and peace, we are horrified by the violence in Gaza and Israel.

We express our grief and solidarity with the families of the victims, and condemn all acts of violence considered war crimes under the Geneva Conventions – killing of civilians, hostage holding, denial of humanitarian access, forced displacement and collective punishment. All hostages must be immediately released. Violent settler attacks on the Palestinian communities in the West Bank must immediately end. In addition, a rise in hate crimes and incidents motivated by antisemitism or islamophobia is unacceptable.

The failure by most of the European Union’s ministers (and the bloc as a whole) to condemn the ongoing collective punishment of civilians in Gaza as a war crime – and to challenge the Israeli government’s occupation policies – sends a racist, neocolonial signal about its values. The EU’s position, despite knowledge of mass atrocities and collective punishment being carried out by Israel, casts serious doubt about EU political elites’ commitment to international law and people’s rights.

Europe must recognise the urgency of ending the occupation and apartheid, and help secure a lasting peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis alike. The European Investment Bank Group (EIB) can play its part by reviewing its current and planned financing portfolio to align it with international law and end support to illegal Israeli settlements.

Now more than ever, it is urgent for the EU’s leaders to champion peace and justice across the globe. It is time for the EU to align its policies – outside and inside the EU – with this objective.

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Statement on the violence in Gaza and Israel