Thank goodness for the Swiss. Alone in Europe, their government has dared to condemn what the Israelis are doing to Gaza. It is collective punishment, they say. It violates the principle of proportionality. Israel has not taken the precautions required by international law to protect civilians.
Inevitably, the bloggers are pouring out the usual irrelevancies about the role of Swiss banks during the Nazi period. But as the depository of the Geneva conventions, one of the key legal advances to emerge from the ravages of the 20th century, Switzerland has a duty to speak out.
Its statement stands in contrast to the European Union's shamefully muted voice. The Palestinians kill two soldiers and take one prisoner and, in response, power stations are blown up, sewage and water systems grind to a halt, bridges are destroyed, sonic booms terrify children day and night, and all this is inflicted on a hungry people who are under siege in what is effectively a huge open prison. The EU's response? Vague expressions of "concern" and calls for "restraint".
Monday, July 10, 2006
Europe's response to the siege of Gaza is shameful
From the British paper The Guardian