News – European Parliament / July 13, 2023
Parliament calls for the in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood in line with the 2014 Council conclusions, while deploring the lack of elections in the Palestinian territories.
On Wednesday, the European Parliament adopted a set of recommendations on how the EU should continue to engage with the Palestinian Authority (PA). While reiterating their unwavering support for a negotiated two-state solution for Israel and Palestine on the basis of the 1967 borders with two sovereign, democratic states and with Jerusalem as their shared capital, MEPs call on the EU and its member states to support in principle a recognition of Palestinian statehood in accordance with the parameters of the July 2014 Council conclusions. They also continue to advocate for the full respect of international law while reiterating the EU’s commitment to the equal rights of all Israelis and Palestinians.
Stressing that it is unacceptable that no elections have been held in the Palestinian territories in more than 16 years, Parliament strongly urges the political leadership of the PA to prepare for the holding of free and fair legislative and presidential ballots as soon as possible. In this context, they remind the Palestinian side of the importance of an independent judiciary and the respect for freedom of expression, while also calling on Israel to respect its obligations to allow elections take place in East Jerusalem.
“Today is an important day. The European Parliament stress the importance of respect for international law in the pursuit of a just and lasting peaceful two-state solution. A strong and democratic Palestinian Authority is an essential part of reaching that goal. An end to the occupation and to the expansion of Israeli [Jewish] settlements is equally vital. The EU has also a responsibility to strengthen the cooperation with the PA based on a long-term approach instead of yearly ad hoc interactions. These recommendations to the Council, the Commission and High Representative Josep Borrell comes at an extraordinarily crucial time”, said rapporteur Evin Incir (S&D, Sweden) after the vote.
Consider EU targeted measures for settlement expansion
MEPs continue to state that Israeli [Jewish] settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law and demand their immediate end. Pointing out that these settlements constitute a major obstacle to the viability of the two-state solution, including lasting peace and security, MEPs call for new efforts to end the latest cycle of settlement related violence and say the EU should considerer targeted measures specifically addressing settlement expansion in the West Bank.
They also express concern about EU policy and EU financial assistance in the Palestinian territories being undermined by illegal settlements and demand compensation for the demolition of all EU-funded infrastructure in the area. The text notes that, in 2022, 101 structures funded by the EU or EU member states (valued at €337,019) were demolished or seized by Israeli authorities.
War crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories
The resolution reiterates the EU’s strong support for the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) work and its impartiality and neutrality. However, MEPs note the limited progress in the ICC’s ongoing investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the occupied Palestinian territories. They also ask the EU to commit to helping the ICC and its Prosecutor to move forward with the investigation and prosecution.
MEPs also ask the EU to commission a legal opinion assessing the political and economic consequences of the Israeli move to transfer broad authority over civilian issues in the West Bank to the Israeli Finance Minister, which would enable the deepening of Israel’s presence in the Palestinian territories.
Sever all ties with terrorists, monitor funding
Finally, Parliament calls on the Palestinian Authority to condemn and sever all links with extremist organizations and terrorist groups [sic] active in the region. It also asks the EU to monitor more effectively the use of European funding by the Palestinian Authority and all beneficiaries.
For all the details, the recommendations will be available here (12.07.2023).
They were adopted by 338 votes in favour, 195 against with 102 abstentions.
EU Parliament Supports ICC’s Investigation Into Israel’s ‘War Crimes’ in West Bank
Haaretz / July 13, 2023
The International Criminal Court in The Hague is investigating alleged Israeli ‘war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian territories’.
The European Union Parliament adopted a statement in support of an investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague into possible war crimes by Israel in the West Bank.
In addition to traditional EU positions, like supporting a [so-called] two-state solution and opposing settlements, the statement addressed international investigations into Israel for the first time.
The statement expressed the EU’s support for the ICC’s investigation into “war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
They offered their assistance to advance the investigations as needed, and expressed support for the ICC’s independence, describing the body as objective and neutral.
The European Leadership Network, the leading pro-Israel NGO in Europe, expressed concern in light of the “scandalous investigation into Israel.”
Anti-occupation activists and supporters of Palestinians in the EU expressed satisfaction that the international investigations against Israel were included in the Parliament’s statement.
The statement also said that the EU Parliament expresses “concern about the Israeli Government’s decision to impose punitive measures against the Palestinian people, leadership and civil society, such as withholding funds and implementing a moratorium on construction plans in Area C, in response to the request by the General Assembly for an advisory opinion from the ICJ; support the efforts to end impunity for crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
The statement also expressed reservation regarding Israel’s decision to declare six human rights organizations that operate in the Occupied Territories as terror organizations due to their ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
At the same time, Israel expressed satisfaction that the statement mentioned issues of financing terrorism and the inclusion of inciting language in Palestinian Authority school textbooks.
A super majority of members, 338, approved the comprehensive political statement about Israel-Palestine, with 195 members voting against it.
Following the Israeli Defense Forces’ operations in Jenin last week, the ICC’s prosecutor stated that he is constantly following the situation in the Palestinian theater.
The statement was received with praise from the Palestinian Authority and censure from Israel and its international supporters.
The timeline of the investigation is unknown, but in Israel there are concerns that it will be expedited in light of the recent escalation in the Occupied Territories.