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What Are We Waiting For?

Miguel Ángel Moratinos

 

The latest events in Gaza bring back the cruelty and suffering endured by a region, to which I have dedicated a large part of my professional and personal efforts, and which, unfortunately, have not been able to put an end to more than 64 years of conflict. On the Palestinian side, more than two hundred people have died just last week, a fact that, coupled with the amount of buildings that now just amount to rubble, has led to desperation settling in the hearts of the population; a population that attempts to sleep, helpless and defenseless, while it waits for the bombs to fall, not knowing whether they or their friends and neighbors will still be alive the next day. On the Israeli side, the sirens -that had not wailed since the war of Iraq- now contaminate every family’s nights with fear and uncertainty.

I do not wish to delve into the origins or the why of this new crisis at this moment, even if no one can deny Israel its right to a legitimate defense, but this one should be proportionate. The whole world condemned the kidnapping and execution of the three young Israelis and I too, personally, condemn these events. And we all condemn the horrifying murder of a young Palestinian, a wrongful death at the hands of radical and fanatical Jews in search of vengeance. Confronted by this situation, we are overwhelmed by ethical and political shame as we assist, impotently, to a deployment of violence that appears to have no end and that takes us back to the most dramatic and saddest episodes in this region. The current events just show, once more, the lack of political courage and will on the international community’s behalf, a community that grows “more tired” every day of a conflict that has lasted almost 100 years and that does not seem to have a solution. Barring the timely and courageous gesture of Pope Francisco, the main international players have, apparently, “thrown in the towel” and have no new ideas as to how to achieve a definite solution. The US administration and President Obama have reacted and sounded the alarm in the international community, as they attempt to reach an agreement, similar to the 2012 one, with Egypt and Qatar

On this stage, where is Europe? What are the European leaders saying or doing? We have read, but not on the first pages of newspapers and digital media, that Europe has made timid appeals to the parties to restrain their actions. But, where are the European and Spanish diplomacies? What sort of catastrophe has to take place for us to mobilize? I do not believe we should wait another second for another missile to cause even more tragedy before we awaken from our slumber. We must reflect and act quickly if we not wish for Gaza to be sentenced to the indignity of death and suffering, and Jewish families to fear and violence. We must act swiftly and immediately mobilize the international public opinion, apparently drugged by the FIFA World Cup and summer vacations.

The solution also depends on Europe accepting its responsibility and proposing a peace plan that, in my opinion, must include the recognition of both the States of Israel and Palestine, by the international community and by all the member nations of the European Union. And thence channel the peace negotiations to achieve a real solution for both nations to coexist peacefully and in safety. We must mobilize the main European nations to immediately apply the Arab Peace Initiative although, previously and urgently, we must force an immediate ceasefire and re-open the negotiations that, led by the United States, collapsed last April. Europe must send a clear message to the parties involved, and set a schedule for what remains of this year so that these proposals may bear fruit and be harvested. If not, Europe must completely reformulate its foreign policy as regards this region and propose more effective measures to break the stalemate of this conflict. What are we waiting for?

 

The article is originally published in Spanish in El País and at Miguel Ángel Moratinos web site in English.

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