Louis Michel: Israel - as an occupation power - is obliged to protect Palestinian civilians. Middle East Online, Brussels, January 13, 2009 - Israel is not respecting international human rights law in the Gaza Strip, where it is giving insufficient protection to the civil population, an EU commissioner said in comments published Tuesday. The evidence, which experts agree on and denounce, shows that Israel is not respecting international human rights laws," the EU's Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel told the Belgian daily La Libre Belgique.
"The first obligation is that an occupying power must preserve the lives of the population, protect them, feed them and look after them. That is manifestly not the case" and "I can't accept it," Michel said...."It's even more difficult to accept when it comes from a democracy," the Belgian EU commissioner said.
In his comments, Michel appeared to distance himself from the decision by the European Union last month to intensify relations with Israel.
"We must be careful not to use instruments which could boost one of the two parties, the idea that we are not capable of a balanced approach," said Michel.