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EU chief Ursula von der Leyen accused of ‘enabling genocide’ in Gaza Strip

The Irish activist and writer, known for their actions on Wednesday when they attempted to arrest European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, has accused her of enabling genocide in Gaza.

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published April 18,2024

A prominent Irish activist and author, who on Wednesday attempted to put European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen under "citizen arrest," accused her of "enabling genocide" in Gaza.

"In my opinion, Ursula von der Leyen should actually be arrested by the real law and order authorities for enabling the genocide in Gaza. Genocide is regarded as the worst possible crime. And she clearly did enable the genocide in Gaza with the trip she made in October, and indeed by subsequent statements that she had reiterated her total solidarity for Israel as it commits genocide in Gaza," he told Anadolu.

Cronin emphasized that he decided to stand against von der Leyen and her support for Israel when he was invited to the event.

"I became even more convinced that I had to do something when I woke up this morning, the first message I got was from a journalist in Gaza, who lives in a refugee camp called El-Magazi in the center of Gaza. And he had a very distressed message about the children who were killed by Israel, a whole group of children were killed by Israel yesterday while they were out playing," he said.

Drawing attention to von der Leyen's support to Israel since Oct.7, 2023, Cronin said: "It's very interesting that when the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to stop its genocide in Gaza at the end of January, it cited both those remarks as evidence of Israel: The senior Israeli political figures displaying genocidal intent. Ursula von der Leyen did not express any disapproval whatsoever of those statements."

By doing so, he said, von der Leyen allowed Israel to buy some time to "commit massacres," without coming under international pressure to stop those massacres, he added.

Cronin, also an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada, a website focused on Palestine, and a prominent voice on the Israel-Palestine issue, interrupted von der Leyen's speech at the summit on Wednesday to make his accusations public.

It is not the first time that Cronin carried out such an action.

In the past, he also attempted a "citizen arrest" on former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7, 2023, cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas in which nearly 1,200 people were killed.

Nearly 33,900 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and over 76,600 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.