Dr Bennion says the EU must take action to promote a renewed peace process in the Middle East. He warns that the fragile Gaza ceasefire could collapse into renewed violence without international action to promote a lasting peace process.
Speaking after the European Parliament at Strasbourg voted overwhelmingly for a compromise resolution deploring the violence, the West Midlands MEP said: “I hope that the ceasefire brokered by Egypt is a sign that Israel has realised that repeating the last Gaza invasion would not work.
“The role of Egypt’s new government was crucial. This must now be the spur for the EU, the USA and the international community to ensure the ceasefire is not just a pause but a stepping stone to a renewed peace process, with Egypt playing a vital role as honest broker.
“We are still perilously close to breaking point where senseless violence spirals into all-out war. The bombing by Israeli forces and rocket attacks by Hamas on Israeli citizens are a human tragedy which damages the interests of both sides.
“Israel has a right to defend itself, and the people of Gaza have a right to self-determination and not live in a perpetual blockade.
“Views are divided, but I am glad the European Parliament has passed a compromise resolution calling for action to promote peace, as the representative body of 500 million citizens.
“The EU must send a clear signal that this ceasefire should be followed by all parties coming to the negotiating table to make real commitments and real compromises.
“The Middle East crisis is a failure of politics and politicians, not just in Israel but in the EU and America too. Lack of leadership has let down ordinary people throughout the region, and left too many innocent civilians as victims.
“We must take this ceasefire as a priceless opportunity to push for real progress in a peace process which safeguards the rights of all the peoples of Israel and Palestine.”