West Midlands MEP Phil Bennion has praised the work of Liberal MEPs in brokering a tough cross-party resolution on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which was adopted by the European Parliament in Strasbourg today.
|Phil Bennion has praised the role of Liberal MEPs in brokering a resolution on Israeli settlements which gained cross-party support.|
MEPs also criticised other policies such as the Israeli government's withholding of Palestinian tax revenues being paid to the Palestinian Authority, and the ongoing blockade of Gaza, which perpetuate hostility and misery among the Palestinian people with no practical benefit to Israel.
Phil Bennion said: "Thanks to some hard negotiation by some of my Liberal colleagues, the European Parliament has managed to agree a statement which sends out a clear message to both sides that we want a meaningful peace process to be launched.
"However I worry that these words may continue to fall on deaf ears. The EU must continue to apply pressure on all parties in the region to work towards a negotiated and amicable peace deal ensuring a secure state of Israel and a viable state of Palestine.
"The EU as a key aid donor to the Palestinians and a major trade partner with Israel has real economic leverage over both sides.
"I urge our leaders to start using this leverage to ensure all sides commit to meaningful dialogue and to an immediate end to provocative and destructive policies in the region."
Note: Extract from the resolution as adopted:
The European Parliament ...
1. Expresses its deepest concern about the Israeli Government's announcement regarding the planned construction of approximately 3 000 new housing units in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem;
2. Stresses again that such expansion may represent a step undermining the prospects of a viable Palestine, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both it and Israel;
3. Stresses that Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem are illegal under international law; calls for an immediate, complete and permanent freeze on all Israeli settlement construction and expansion activities, and for a stop to further evictions of Palestinian families from their homes and the demolition of Palestinian houses;
4. Condemns the declarations made by the political leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshal, rejecting the recognition of the State of Israel and clearly refusing any Israeli presence in Jerusalem, and calls on Hamas to recognise Israel's right to exist;
5. Deeply regrets the decision by the Israeli Government to withhold USD 100 million in Palestinian tax revenues, which undermines the Palestinian Authority's budget, and calls for the immediate transfer of these revenues; encourages involved parties to settle all outstanding financial disputes under the mediation of the EU;
6. Reiterates its strong support for the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as capital of both States and with a secure State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security; stresses again that peaceful and non-violent means are the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and calls in this context for the resumption of direct peace talks between the two parties; calls on all parties to refrain from any unilateral action which could undermine or hinder peace efforts and the prospects for a negotiated peace agreement;
7. Calls again for full and effective implementation of all existing EU legislation and EU-Israel bilateral agreements by the EU and its Member States, and stresses that all provisions of the EU-Israel Association Agreement concerning the respect of human rights of the Palestinians should be respected; reiterates the EU's commitment to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing European Union legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products;
8. Continues to call, in the same spirit, for Palestinian reconciliation, which is the way to reunite Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, who are part of the same Palestinian people;
9. Urges the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Government to relaunch the Middle East peace process; stresses, moreover 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;
10. Urges the EU and its Member States once again to play a more active political role, also within the Quartet, in the efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians; supports the Vice-President / High Representative in her efforts to create a credible prospect of relaunching the peace process;
Link to full text as adopted: >