European Parliamentarians Calling for an End to...
Since the occupation first began in June 1967, Israel’s ruthless policies of land confiscation, illegal settlement and dispossession, coupled with rampant discrimination, have inflicted immense suffering on Palestinians, depriving them of their basic rights. Israel’s military rule disrupts every aspect of daily life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It continues to affect whether, when and how Palestinians can travel to work or school, go abroad, visit their relatives, earn a living, attend a protest, access their farmland, or even access electricity or a clean water supply. It means daily humiliation, fear and oppression. People’s entire lives are effectively held hostage by Israel.
Recently, 370 European Parliamentarians from 21 countries and respective Parliaments from across Europe and the European Parliament (including from the UK) have written to European Foreign Ministers and the European Union's High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell calling on Europe to take immediate and concrete steps to prevent the displacement and forcible transfer of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian Territory and to actualise differentiation between illegal Israeli settlements in all dealings with Israel.
The Parliamentarians reference the latest escalation in Gaza and the "discriminatory reality in which Israelis and Palestinians have different and unequal rights" as a result of decades of occupation and of widespread forced dispossession and displacement faced by Palestinians, including in the neighbourhoods of occupied East Jerusalem such as Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan and other areas of the occupied Palestinian territory.
Their letter references Human Rights Watch's report on Israeli apartheid, "which concludes that Israel has crossed a threshold such that its violations in the occupied Palestinian territories meet the legal definition of the crime of Apartheid according to the Rome Statute."
The statement says: “As Members of Parliament from across Europe and across political parties, we are deeply concerned about the current situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. We are alarmed by the latest escalation in Gaza, the civilian casualties on both sides and the devastating humanitarian consequences for the already hard-hit population in Gaza. We call upon both sides to protect all civilians and to keep them out of harm’s way, as well as to provide unhindered humanitarian access as mandated by international humanitarian law.”
“The last round of violence in Gaza, as well as across Israel and the occupied territories, makes clear that the status quo is untenable and that it is both urgent and imperative that we address the root causes of this flare-up. Decades of occupation and dispossession have now resulted in a discriminatory reality in which Israelis and Palestinians have different and unequal rights.”
“Europe must work together with like-minded allies to challenge this status quo and to take robust steps to pave the way for a safer, just and democratic future for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Violations of international law, like the ones we witnessed unfolding, must come with robust consequences, in Israel-Palestine, as elsewhere. It is crucial that the EU and European governments support relevant international accountability efforts.”
“We stand firm in our support of stated European policy regarding the illegality of Israeli settlements and the importance of differentiating between Israel and the settlements in all relevant dealings, and we call upon Europe to upgrade and actualize its efforts in this regard. We furthermore call on Europe to take immediate and concrete steps to prevent the displacement and forcible transfer of Palestinian families, especially in East Jerusalem. In light of recent events we are concerned that the continuous occupation, the expansion of settlements and the absence of a peace process aimed at establishing a Palestinian state, will only lead to further violence and will jeopardize the safety and freedom of Palestinians as well as Israelis.”