19 March '12..
Today, Catherine Ashton - EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission - gave a speech to Palestinian Arab youth.
At the end of this speech which had the usual platitudes, she decided to be topical:
We are gathered here because we have recognised the potential of the youth of Palestine. Against all the odds, they continue to learn, to work, to dream and aspire to a better future. And the days when we remember young people who have been killed in all sorts of terrible circumstances - the Belgian children having lost their lives in a terrible tragedy and when we think of what happened in Toulouse today, when we remember what happened in Norway a year ago, when we know what is happening in Syria, when we see what is happening in Gaza and in different parts of the world - we remember young people and children who lose their lives. Here are young people who are asking not to be leaders of the future, but to be taken seriously as leaders of today. And it is to them that we should look and to them we should listen and it is to them that I pay tribute.
To begin with, while she mentions children's lives who are lost in accidents - like the Belgian bus tragedy - she seems to place those killed in Gaza in a different category. She puts it in present tense, as if they are being murdered daily, in the same way she describes Syria; she is not framing it as kids killed because their leaders decided to pursue a policy of genocide against the Jews of the Middle East but as kids who are being targeted by...those awful bloodthirsty Israelis.
She would no doubt disagree vehemently. She probably thought that she was just talking about how tragic it is when children's lives are lost, no matter what the circumstances. But even if you are being charitable and think that she was not referring to Gaza as a Israeli policy targeting kids, it is still a hugely offensive statement.
(Read full "EU's Catherine Ashton compares kids murdered in France with Gaza")
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