Open letter to the EU leadership demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza

by Geneva International Peace Research GIPRI*

15 March 2024

Dear President von der Leyen,
Dear President Michel,
Dear High Representative Borrell

The Geneva International Peace Research Institute respectfully comes back to you on this question of a ceasefire in Gaza, on which we have yet to receive a satisfactory response.
  Since our previous email of 23 February, GIPRI has launched an academic and media campaign of awareness-raising and public debate.  Our director Dr Gabriel Galice and the board are appalled at the inaction by European leaders in the face of the on-going genocide and the multiple violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by the government of Israel.  It is most urgent to enforce a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, followed by a lifting of the illegal blockade against the hapless population of Gaza, the full implementation of the order of the International Court of Justice of 26 January 2024, and the prompt and effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to the starving population.
  You received the proposal from Dr Galice on the 27 February last, calling for a multi-national force to break the illegal Israeli blockade on Gaza. We attach the document here again for your reference.1
  The document was shared in good faith, as a rallying call to the international community to support the besieged population of Gaza, through the formation of unilateral state partnerships with international humanitarian organisations to break the illegal blockade. What it was not meant for was to be co-opted by the EU and the US government.
  The GIPRI proposal was published in the Belgian paper “Le Soir” on 29 February, and we have it on good authority that the next morning it was sitting on the desks of prime ministers in certain European capitals.
  It was also published in the “Tribune de Geneve” on 5 March.
  By some marvelous set of coincidences, the US government announced a week after the Le Soir article, after five months of relentless Israeli bombing, that it would build a pier in Gaza and send aid to Gaza via a maritime corridor out of Cyprus. It would do all of this while at the same time maintaining its provision of weapons and political cover for Israel to continue its murderous campaign against the civilians of Gaza unabated. The cognitive dissonance of such a situation is monstrous, as we see pictures of a tugboat pulling a barge with a couple of hundred tons of aid on it, bound for Gaza, while the images of the bloody aftermath of Israeli air strikes continue to be livestreamed. It is unethical and cynical to be complicit in a genocide and then to pretend to be a Good Samaritan with all the media hype associated with it. Last weekend, the EU announced that it would be implementing a similar initiative, although the European governments continue giving aid and comfort to the government of Israel in the midst of its ethnic cleansing campaign, engaging in apology of genocide and crimes against humanity.
  There appears to be such an enormous moral vacuum and absence of ideas at the levels of Brussels and Washington, not to mention shocking apathy, that it is quite clear that the GIPRI proposal has been co-opted by bureaucrats in both locations to make it seem as though they are doing something to help the people of Gaza, when in reality they do not care.
  Not only is the mechanism that the EU has adopted useless, in the absence of a port in Gaza or any means of inland delivery of aid planned for in advance, but the EU is also continuing to provide its tacit support for the Israeli blockade, the bombing and starvation of the population, as well as the continuation of the slow and torturous Israeli aid inspection process.
  By opening a maritime corridor via Cyprus, the EU is effectively surrendering any remaining moral authority it may have had to the Israelis, by presenting the scenario as though no other possible alternative exists, when in fact many alternatives do exist.
  Through adopting this approach, the EU continues to support the Israeli blockade by steadfastly refusing to call for a ceasefire, and by not calling for Israel to open the land borders to allow the hundreds of aid trucks already positioned to enter Gaza. This is the only effective means through which aid can be distributed to the population by the United Nations agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other international partners and organisations. These agencies have been calling for months for rapid and unhindered access to deliver aid, calls that continue to fall on deaf ears.
  This assault on Gaza was never about 7 October, or about Hamas, or about Israel’s notional right to defend itself. It is clear now that it is nothing less than a pre-planned genocide, a land-grab for the creation of a greater Israel, a more secure Apartheid ethno-state. The EU has supported it and you are all guilty of enabling this genocide to take place in plain sight. Words have lost their meaning at this point to express the horror of what we have witnessed for the past five months. Again, just last night, we witnessed another ‘Flour Massacre’, with over 60 people murdered by Israeli tanks and machine guns while waiting for food aid.
  This is a shocking disgrace and once again there has been no condemnation from the EU of these cold-blooded massacres we have witnessed in the past two weeks.
  As a group of European and American citizens, we have had enough, and we are holding you accountable for your actions in supporting Israel’s destruction of Gaza and its murder of the population. We are appalled that the EU has acted in this undemocratic way for the past five months, throwing its support behind Israel, while the citizens of the EU have been overwhelmingly demanding, for months now, an end to the senseless slaughter and destruction.
  We demand that the EU calls for an immediate and unconditional end to the Israeli bombing of Gaza right now, and we demand that the EU also calls for an opening of the borders, allowing rapid and unhindered delivery of food, shelter and medical supplies to the population.
  Anything less than this is unacceptable and in breach of international law, which you all claim to uphold, but which it is evident that you are in breach of.
  Short of this, we will be amplifying calls at the public level for your immediate resignations, as you no longer represent the population of the EU, with your continued support for a racist, murderous, apartheid regime.
  Professor Alfred de Zayas, former senior lawyer with OHCHR, former UN Independent Expert on International Order, and member of the GIPRI board is prepared to substantiate the violations by Israel of the Hague Convention of 1907, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the 1977 Additional Protocols, of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and of articles 6, 7, and 8 of the Statute of Rome.
  If there ever was a case for the application of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine (GA Resolution 60/1 paras 138-39), this is it.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan O’Connor – Ireland
Gabriel Galice – France
Gilles Emmanuel Jacquet – France
Cristina Cabrejas – Spain
Soaade Messoudi – Belgium
Guy Mettan – Switzerland
Professor Alfred de Zayas – Switzerland, United States
Tim Clennon – Switzerland, United States

First published by of 18 March 2024

1 Galice, Gabriel. “Saving Gaza across the sea”. In: Current Concerns No 5 of 5 March 2024 (editor’s note)

* The Geneva International Peace Research Institute ( is a non-governmental organisation with UN consultative status.  It was founded in 1980 by Professor Roy Adrien Preiswerk, Director of the Institut Universitaire d’Etude du Developpement and Professor at the Institut Universitaire des hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva.

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