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Palestinian Lives Matter Monument Erected by Avaaz in Front of EU Council

*** 4,500 pairs of shoes, one for every Palestinian and Israeli killed over the last decade, installed in Brussels by the global citizens movement Avaaz. Nearly half a million Europeans call on EU Foreign Ministers to sanction Israel, after the killing of unarmed protesters ***

PHOTOS AVAILABLE: https://www.flickr.com/photos/avaaz/sets/72157696755526924

VIDEO AVAILABLE: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1c14k51i9Op6uKGuLmzOu8sLf6oT-oV5m/view

BRUSSELS (28 May, 2018) — Today, Avaaz members covered Place Jean Rey right in front of the EU Council with 4,500 empty pairs of shoes to memorialize every person killed in the Israel - Palestine conflict over the last decade. Shoes were donated by citizens across Europe over the last week as part of a growing call for EU governments to protect Palestinian lives by reining in Israel’s government violence.    

The installation greeted European Foreign Ministers as they entered a one-day meeting to discuss the ongoing Gaza crisis and other international topics. This comes days after the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, announced her willingness to rethink the EU’s strategy on the Israel Palestine conflict.

Both the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) estimate that more than 4,500 lives have been lost since the Gaza war in 2008. However, completely precise statistics are not available since Israel and the United States have blocked the U.N. from conducting impartial investigations on the ground.

Avaaz Campaign Director Christoph Schott said:

“Citizens across Europe have one clear message for our governments: Palestinian lives matter to us and they need to matter to you. As Israel’s largest trading partner and political ally, it is our moral responsibility to send a clear signal to Netanyahu’s government that the violence must stop. What is happening in Palestine is a modern-day apartheid, and for Europe to turn a blind eye to that does not protect Israel: it only undermines our humanity.”

In the wake of the current Gaza crisis, which has seen the killing of at least 60 unarmed protesters, Avaaz members around the world have called on EU ministers to sanction specific Israeli industries, such as illegal settlement related products, that are undermining peace efforts.

History has shown that targeted sanctions can be impactful, morally responsible, and, at times, the world’s last available non-violent option to protect human rights and achieve peace. The most famous example is in South Africa where people worldwide pushed their governments and companies to adopt a policy of disinvestments, sanctions, and boycotts against the regime, which has been seen as one of the watershed moments that led to the end of apartheid.

Avaaz members have long pushed for peace and the protection of rights in Israel/Palestine. In 2012, more than 1.5 million Avaaz members called for the international recognition of Palestine at the U.N. as its 194th State. In 2013, in a billboard campaign, Avaaz and the US based group Jewish Voice for Peace called out AIPAC for its pro-war and its policies favoring expansion of illegal settlements. In 2014, more than 1.7 million citizens pushed Barclays to cut financial tiers with suppliers of Israeli arms, and a year later a joint campaign led by Avaaz, Oxfam, ActionAid, Care, Action Against Hunger, Mercy Corps and World Vision called on Israel government to lift the blockade in Gaza. Earlier this year, more than 1.7 million called on the military to release Ahed Tamimi and all Palestinian children from Israeli prisons.

For more information, interview requests or professional images free for editorial use (video and photos): please call or text +49 151 6512 8526, +1415-217-9392 or media@avaaz.org ENDS