European Parliament Passes Landmark Resolution: Condemns Israeli Policies, Alludes to Sanctions

The European Parliament passed on July 5 2012 a landmark resolution condemning Israeli policies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, focusing on home demolitions and forced displacement, with the strongest language to date. The resolution comes as a result of a concerted advocacy effort on the part of ICAHD and other human rights organizations.

Noteworthy in the facilitation of the Parliament resolution are the EU Heads of Mission reports on East Jerusalem and Area C, who reference ICAHD legal and political analysis extensively. Years of advocacy efforts that span Jerusalem, Geneva and Brussels have culminated earlier this week in this historic resolution, unprecedentedly referring to the EU-Israel Association Agreement as a means of coercing parties to justly resolve the conflict.

Following are some of its highlights:

Whereas international human rights and humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, is fully applicable to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip; whereas Israel is obliged, inter alia, to ensure in good faith that the basic needs of the occupied Palestinian population are met, administer its occupation in a manner that benefits the local population, protect and preserve civilian objects, and avoid the transfer of its own population into the occupied territory and of the population of the occupied territory into its own territory;

Whereas the recent EU Heads of Mission reports on ‘Area C and Palestinian State Building’, on East Jerusalem, and on settler violence, confirmed once more alarming and potentially irreversible developments on the ground in the areas concerned;

Whereas the Palestinian presence in the West Bank, with special regard to Area C, and in East Jerusalem has been undermined by Israeli Government policies, especially by the building and expansion of settlements; whereas Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to peace efforts while they are subsidised by the Israeli Government with considerable incentives in the fields of taxation, housing, infrastructure, roads, access to water, education, health care, etc.;

Whereas current developments in East Jerusalem, make the prospect of Jerusalem becoming the future capital of two states increasingly unlikely and unworkable in practice; whereas East Jerusalem is increasingly detached from the West Bank while the Historic Basin within Jerusalem is increasingly detached from the rest of East Jerusalem;

Whereas Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have a permanent-resident status which can only be transferred to children under certain conditions and is not automatically transferred through marriage, preventing spouses and children of many East Jerusalem permanent residents from living with their family members; whereas, on the other hand, approximately 200 000 Israeli settlers are living in and around East Jerusalem;

Whereas protecting the Palestinian population and its rights in the West Bank, with special regard to Area C, and in East Jerusalem is of the utmost importance for preserving the viability of the two-state solution; whereas the ongoing expansion of settlements and settler violence, planning restrictions and the consequent acute house shortage, house demolitions, evictions and displacements, confiscation of land, difficult access to natural resources, and the lack of basic social services and assistance are having a significant negative impact on the living conditions of Palestinians;

Whereas Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement states that relations between the parties shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this agreement;

Stresses that ending the conflict is a fundamental interest of the EU, as well as of the parties themselves and the wider region, notes that the EU, as the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority and one of Israel’s major trading partners has instruments at its disposal to more actively encourage both parties to work towards a solution;

Expresses its deepest concern about developments on the ground in Area C in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, as described in the EU Heads of Mission reports on ‘Area C and Palestinian State Building’ of July 2011 and on East Jerusalem of January 2012;

Stresses the importance of protecting the Palestinian population and its rights in Area C and in East Jerusalem, which is essential for keeping the viability of the two-state solution alive;

Calls on the Israeli Government and authorities to meet their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular by securing an immediate end to house demolitions, evictions and forced displacement of Palestinians.

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