Europe has long claimed to be a champion of human rights and a defender of the rules-based international order. However, its response to the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza, which killed more than 10,000 civilians and violated international humanitarian law, has exposed the hypocrisy and double standards of so-called European values.
While Europe condemned Russia for its war crimes in Ukraine, it remained silent or supportive of Israel’s collective punishment of Gaza, which included cutting off water, electricity, and fuel, and destroying homes and infrastructure. Israel’s actions were widely denounced as war crimes by human rights organizations, as well as by some of its own citizens and former officials.
Europe’s blind eye to Israel’s war crimes shows that its human rights narrative is selective and self-serving, and that its rules-based order is a cruel farce. It also reveals its complicity in the oppression and suffering of the Palestinian people, who have been living under Israel’s illegal occupation and blockade for decades.
Europe’s allies, such as the United States, also share the blame for enabling Israel’s impunity and aggression. They have continued to provide Israel with diplomatic, military, and economic support, despite its flagrant violations of international law and human rights. They have also blocked or vetoed any meaningful action by the United Nations or other international bodies to hold Israel accountable or to protect the Palestinians.
The international community must act now to stop Israel’s war crimes and to end its occupation and blockade of Gaza. It must also impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, and support the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination and justice. Otherwise, Europe’s human rights narrative will remain hollow and hypocritical, and the rules-based order will remain a tool of domination and oppression.