European Union foreign ministers should think about how their government would respond to violent riots on their borders, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid wrote Monday ahead of their meeting in Brussels to discuss recent events on the Gaza Strip border.
“It is time for the EU to take a principled stance in support of the State of Israel and our basic right to self-defense,” he wrote in a letter to EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret.
Military leaders in the EU would undoubtedly act similarly to the way the IDF behaved to ensure national security and sovereignty, Lapid wrote.
EU foreign ministers were set to hold a meeting on Monday to discuss Israel’s response to the Gaza border riots, among other international issues, including the Iran deal.
Since the end of March, Gazans have held weekly demonstrations that have been marked by violence, including shooting at Israeli soldiers, throwing firebombs and launching incendiary projectiles at Israeli farmland.
The violence has been encouraged by Hamas, whose leadership has said its goal is to enter Israel and attack Israelis. The largest border riot was on May 14, when the IDF killed 61 participants, 50 of whom were Hamas terrorists, according to a senior Hamas official speaking on Palestinian TV.
Lapid sought to remind Giaufret of “key facts” about the situation, such as that Israel evacuated Gaza in 2005 but left behind 3,000 greenhouses to help the Gazans build their economy. However, those were destroyed, Gazans elected Hamas as their leaders, and in the ensuing 11 years they fired more than 15,000 rockets at Israeli civilians.
“The Hamas charter repeatedly calls for the genocide of the Jews, and these riots were another element in Hamas’ attempts to destroy the State of Israel,” Lapid wrote.
Regarding the military blockade of Gaza, Lapid said it “could be lifted quickly and easily if Hamas, an EU-designated terror organization, abandoned terrorism and committed itself to living side by side with Israel.”
Lapid pointed out that the majority of those killed in the riots were members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
“They weren’t nonviolent demonstrators, but rather armed terror cells embedded into a civilian population trying to breach the border,” he wrote. “We should be clear that what happened on May 14th was an attempt by Hamas to carry out multiple acts of terror while hiding behind human shields. It was Hamas which instigated the violence and did everything to drive up the death toll.”
“In stark contrast, the IDF acted with professionalism and restraint in an almost impossible situation,” Lapid wrote.