European Leaders Failed the Palestinians

Over the past weeks, the crisis in the Middle East has drawn clear dividing lines, where the young generation of European voters, the so called Generation Z, have embraced the Palestinian cause.

The past days witnessed a wave of solidarity movements and acts in defense of Palestinians across Europe and globally. Generation Z, powered by social media, has risen to show the truth of what is happening to the Palestinians, often mocking and exposing Israel’s talking points and lies.

This young generation will not be bamboozled by traditional Western media narratives because they get their news straight from Palestine via social media. They don’t respect the filters of Western mainstream media, and their voices can’t be bought. They are out of reach for the AIPACs and Israeli lobby groups who splurge on stifling the Palestinian voice. Generation Z can’t be controlled in their candid reactions and support for the oppressed.

These are the same European voters that will hold European politicians accountable for their silence and their complicity in the genocide in Gaza. European leaders still underestimate how big of an issue Palestine is for these young voters who can and will turn elections. European leaders are not ready for that, thinking they can go on as business as usual with their stance in support of Israel unquestioned. That young European voters’ message has been sent but EU leaders have not received it yet.

The same goes for the US context. US President Joe Biden hasn’t yet realized how big of an issue Palestine is for the young generation of US voters and the impact that Generation Z voters will have on his reelection in 2024.

European leaders’ reactions to the war on Gaza have been a sign of weak leadership. And silence in times such as these can mean complicity.

Big European powers’ leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have rejected the assertions that Israel is committing war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza. Smaller EU powers such as Bulgaria have followed suit. Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov flew to Tel Aviv to give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a pat on the shoulder.

The EU’s top officials’ response to what is taking place in Gaza has also been abysmal.

There are very few exceptions to this official line. Belgium’s Vice Prime Minister, Petra de Sutter, called for imposing economic sanctions on Israel. Irish politicians were also quick to condemn the slaughtering of Palestinian children in Gaza. We have heard some European parliamentarians also speak out in defense of Palestinian children.

Among European leaders, Spanish minister of social rights Ione Belarra is the only European leader who has dared calling the situation in Gaza “a genocide”. She accused Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of “whitewashing” Israel’s crimes, as Sanchez paid Netanyahu a visit. Belarra called for trying Netanyahu at the International Criminal Court, but she is the exception in the EU political landscape. On Friday, Belgium’s and Spain’s top leaders held a press conference at the Rafah border crossing asking for a ceasefire but Spain and Belgium are an exception to the EU.

Young European voters are taking note of all that, especially the lack of a moral compass on the part of European leaders.

As young Europeans are becoming the conduit of the Palestinian voice, they have been able to break through an information wall built by traditional media and demolished by the power of social media. Generation Z will hold European politicians accountable, and European leaders will have to reckon with that, sooner or later.

[Photo by the Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa) in contract with APAimages, via Wikimedia Commons]

*Iveta Cherneva is an Amazon best-selling author and political analyst. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect TGP’s editorial stance.

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