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From the field

B’Tselem Executive Director to Top European Officials: After 50 years of occupation, resolute international action needed to end it

This morning (Thursday) Hagai El-Ad met with Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen; tomorrow he meets with the ambassadors of the 28 EU states in Brussels.

B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad is set to speak in a series of events being held in Europe to mark 50 years since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories began. El-Ad will also meet with decision-makers, diplomats and activists to discuss the determined action needed now to end the occupation.

This morning, Thursday 1 June, El-Ad met with Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Anders Samuelsen in Copenhagen. Tomorrow, El-Ad will meet with the ambassadors of the 28 EU member states, in a meeting of the Political and Security Committee (PSC), the body tasked with monitoring the implementation of EU foreign and security policy. Shawan Jabarin, the general director of Palestinian human rights NGO Al-Haq, will also attend the PSC meeting. Delegates from Gaza-based human rights organizations were also invited to participate, but their arrival depends on Israel’s willingness to open a crack in its ten-year blockade over Gaza to let them out. On Tuesday, at 6:30 PM (Brussels time), the directors of the organizations will attend a public event with former French Ambassador Pierre Vimont at the BOZAR Center in Brussels.

Early this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared he would not meet with leaders who meet with organizations that work toward ending the occupation. This is yet another step taken by the Israeli government in its efforts to silence those who oppose its policies: the media, activists, academics, artists and human rights organizations. El-Ad says he will use his meetings to clarify that ending the occupation is pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, and pro-justice. “The non-violent path to ending the occupation at the present time is international action against it. Without international action, the violence will go on unabated, and so will the oppression, the injustice and the fear. Upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms is a human responsibility anywhere and at any time. Europe has a unique moral responsibility toward Israel’s security, but our security cannot be based on the oppression of Palestinians. In fact, their oppression is the foundation for our lack of security”.

The meetings will take place over the next few days in Brussels, Copenhagen and Stockholm. Today, Thursday, at 4:00 PM (Copenhagen time), El-Ad and Jabarin will speak at a public event hosted by leading Danish newspaper Politiken. The English language event, entitled, “50 Years of Occupation” will be moderated by Anders Jerichow, the newspaper’s Middle East correspondent.