Will Europe stand with Israel? The European Commission projected the Israeli flag on its Berlaymont HQ following the Hamas attacks on Saturday October 7. EPA-EFE/Jennifer Jacquemart / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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European civil servants challenge West’s stance on Gaza

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In an open letter co-ordinated by civil servants from the European Union and several Western nations, the signees called upon their governments and institutions to hold Israel “accountable to international humanitarian and human rights standards”.

The move was an apparent bid to end military joint support for the country as part of a push to secure a lasting ceasefire in the war in the Middle East.

A spokesperson for the European Commission said to Brussels Signal that “The Commission is looking into the statement.”

More than 800 civil servants signed up to the declaration that their government policies “are contributing to grave violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes and even ethnic cleansing or genocide”.

They accuse Israel of having shown “no boundaries in its military operations” and of the “deliberate blocking of aid”, despite it being unable to achieve objectives regarding the release of all Israeli hostages.

The civil servants claimed Israel’s policies had strengthened the “appeal” of Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organisations.

The support for Jerusalem’s actions from Europe and the US is portrayed as a “failure”, as they claim it has led to a humanitarian catastrophe.

“Our governments’ current policies weaken their moral standing and undermine their ability to stand up for freedom, justice and human rights globally and weaken our efforts to rally international support for Ukraine and to counter malign actions by Russia, China and Iran,” the statement read.

In light of that, the letter said, they were calling on their governments to cease support for Israel and hold it accountable for “attacks against civilians”.

The civil servants demanded that governments “use all leverage available – including a halt to military support – to secure a lasting ceasefire and full humanitarian access in Gaza and a safe release of all hostages”.

In addition, they demanded that their leaders “develop a strategy for lasting peace that includes a secure Palestinian State and guarantees for Israel’s security”.

The letter was endorsed by civil servants from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

The names of individuals signing the statement have not been disclosed.

Such documents, where civil servants give their opinions on political issues, are rare since public servants are required to carry out their duties neutrally, without bias. This is intended to preserve public trust and confidence.

The allegations against Israel also seem to contradict outside observations.

John Spencer, the chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point, New York, noted for instance that “Israel has taken more care to prevent civilian deaths than any other army in human history”.