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EU: MEPs voice support for Palestine with call to back ICC Israel probe

July 13, 2023 at 12:30 pm

Karim Khan, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor holds a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan on 12 August 2021 [Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency]

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voiced their strong support for a Palestinian state yesterday in a set of recommendations while deploring Israel’s continued violations of international law. European lawmakers also gave their backing to the International Criminal Court (ICC) probe into alleged Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity and called on the European Union (EU) to commit to helping ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan.

MEPs reiterated their unwavering support for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital shared with Israel. The parliamentarians called on the EU and its member states to support in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood in accordance with the parameters of the July 2014 European Council conclusions.

These reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to a just and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the two-state solution, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security and with mutual recognition. A renewed commitment was also made to support the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

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Yesterday’s set of recommendations to the EU advocated full respect of international law while reiterating the bloc’s commitment to the equal rights of all Israelis and Palestinians. MEPs pointed out that Israel’s Jewish-only settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law and demanded their immediate end. They noted that the settlements constitute a major obstacle to the viability of the two-state solution, including lasting peace and security.

Concern was raised about EU policy and EU financial assistance in the Palestinian territories being undermined by illegal Israeli settlements. The MEPs also demanded compensation for the demolition of all EU-funded infrastructure in the area. In 2022 alone, for example, 101 structures funded by the EU or EU member states (valued at €337,019) were demolished or seized by the Israeli occupation authorities.

On the subject of the ICC probe, the MEPs reiterated the EU’s strong support for the work of the court at The Hague looking into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in the occupied territories while noting limited progress in that regard. They called on the EU to commit to helping the ICC and its prosecutor to move forward with the investigation and prosecution.

Turning their attention to Israel’s extreme far-right government, the MEPs called on the EU to commission a legal opinion assessing the political and economic consequences of Tel Aviv’s move to transfer broad authority over civilian issues in the West Bank to Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a firm supporter of illegal settlements, and a settler himself. Experts say that the move formalises Israel’s annexation of the West Bank and signals the occupation state’s intention to maintain permanent control of the occupied Palestinian territory.

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