The European Parliament has called on Hamas to return the remains of Israeli soldiers and the release of citizens held In Gaza.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution Thursday calling for the return of the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul and the the release of Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayeed, two Israeli civilians believed to be suffering from mental illness, being held by Hamas in Gaza.
The call came in the framework of a larger resolution on the situation in Gaza Strip that also noted “an increase in terrorist attacks against Israel” over the past few weeks.”
The resolution also recognized Israel’s “security challenges and the need to protect its territory and borders while using proportionate means” and expressed concern that “Hamas seems to be aiming at escalating tensions” and is “using civilians for the purpose of shielding terrorist activities.”
However, at the same time, in reference to recent Palestinian protests along the Gaza border in which over 30 people have been killed by Israeli troops – at least 26 of them affiliated to Hamas and other terrorist groups, according to Israeli sources – the resolution condemned “the killings and injury of innocent Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip” and urged the IDF to “refrain from using lethal force against unarmed protesters.”
It also called for “an immediate and unconditional end to the blockade and closure of the Gaza Strip,” which, it said, “has resulted in a deteriorating, unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the area.”
The resolution was a compromise reached after a group of pro-Israel MEPs had put forward a far more strongly worded motion that blamed the “violent riots and attacks” on Hamas, which it said has been a central figure in the organization of the protests by using sermons in mosques and social media to incite violence around the protests.
‘Hamas is on the EU terror list’
Danish MEP Anders Vistisen, a senior Member of the European Conservatives and Reformist (ECR) Group, said: “I welcome that the compromise resolution on the the situation in the Gaza Strip reflected important elements for the ECR Group. The resolution stresses the fact that Hamas is on the EU terror list and that Gaza remains a hub for internationally recognized terrorist organizations. It furthermore calls for the release of Israeli citizens Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayeed to be freed and returned to Israel. The European Parliament offers condolences to the families of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul and calls for the return of their remains which continue to be held by Hamas.”
“The above points are extremely important in any discussion regarding the Gaza Strip and I am pleased they were successfully pushed for by the ECR Group to be included in the EP resolution,” Vistisen added. “Though the resolution is far from perfect and the left continuously seeks to blur reality, the ECR will continue to remain to be the voice of reason.”