Email to Louis Michel


قل هو الله أحد
As you know, this guy today accused Hamas of being responsible for the massacre in Gaza.

I've emailed him to protest. This is his email:

[email protected]

This is the text of the email I've written:

Dear Mr Michel

I'm writing to you to protest on the comments you made in Gaza city on the 26th of January 2009. The BBC reported that you said: "I intentionally say this here - Hamas is a terrorist movement and it has to be denounced as such."

While I do not dispute that Hamas has targeted Israeli civilians, and that will make it a terrorist organization, I'm surprised that your demands to remedy this situation does not tally with the causes of it. You do not demand that Hamas stops targeting civilians, you demand that it has to renounce all violence and accept the state of Israel. This strikes me as illogical. I'm sure this contradiction does not escape an able and veteran politician like yourself, which makes me wonder about the causes of it.

I wonder why not try to remedy the civilian suffering -on both sides- first, which I'd have thought should be your first priority as a humanitarian development chief. I'm not sure if you are aware that Hamas has offered to stop attacks on civilians a while ago, if Israel will agree to a similar measure:

It is not surprising that Israel does not seem interested in this measure, since the "body count" is in their favor. In the last conflict only it is in the region of 1 Israeli to 300 Palestinian civilians.

Is Israel not using the civilians systematically in this conflict ? I'm here not talking about the numerous reports of using Palestinian civilians as human shields during incursions, as I'm sure many will dispute that. I'm talking about the settlers, the numbers of which keep going up all the time. The settlements has to be the deadliest weapon used against the Palestinians. I'm sure you know these are illegal under international law.

This leaves the nebulous point of "targeting civilians deliberately". I find it difficult to differentiate between targeting them deliberately (what Hamas does), and knowingly (what Israel does), since no one can tell what's in people's hearts. How do you know what did the Israeli pilot think when he pressed the trigger dropping cluster bombs over Gaza ? He knew that civilians will suffer for sure.

Would the Israeli response not be the same if Hamas was only targeting military targets ?

Hamas is a terrorist organization (many resistance movements were so at one stage, including those involved in the establishment of Israel), but, and by all measures, Israel is even a bigger terrorist with more blood on her hands. This selective application of terminology is gradually undermining the meaning of the word in eyes of many people.

This -and I'm sorry to say it- gross intellectual dishonesty is sadly common in the European official language. You seem to see the region through the eyes of the Israeli government, which undoubtedly undermines your position as an honest broker.

The Palestinians are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They either have to choose resistance, which means fighting the forth strongest army in the world with 19th century weapons, or go down the route of negotiations. The most important feature of these negotiations is that all Israeli demands has to be met NOW, while all Palestinians demands need to wait for more and more negotiations and time for Israel to think, ponder AND build more settlements. This is despite the fact that their suffering is bigger by many, many folds. A more reasonable approach has to acknowledge a step wise approach. If Hamas was now to accept Israel, what guarantees does it has that Israel will fulfill anything ? The West Bank is "Hamas free". Despite this, it is in the West Bank where the settlements are still growing, not in Gaza.

I'm no politician, but I think a long term truce between the two sides (without forcing either side to ever lasting commitments) is a reasonable thing to implement. This will allow time for people's life to return to normality, a normality that they will learn to appreciate. In addition, this will allow the build up of trust between the two sides. This trust will be an essential element in achieving permanent peace in the future.

The EU has undoubtedly done a lot for the Palestinians, for which it has to be congratulated and thanked. However, I find it unacceptable that the Palestinians has to suffer collective punishment and bullying by the carrot and the stick for daring to make a democratic choice. The EU should be the champion of democracy everywhere, not only when it suits them.

Millions of people came out to the streets during the last few weeks to show support for Gaza. If the EU adopts a more balanced approach, it will gain a higher standing in the eyes of them all. The EU is a major world player, which puts heavy responsibilities on it. I really hope the EU will stand up to them, as it did in the Balkans.

Yours sincerely,

Please protest. Spread the word. We can do something.