Procedure : 2008/2607(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0381/2008

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 04/09/2008 - 3

Votes :

PV 04/09/2008 - 7.3

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B6-0343/2008
27 August 2008
to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Pasqualina Napoletano and Véronique De Keyser
on behalf of the PSE Group
on the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails

European Parliament resolution on the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails 

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the placeMiddle East,

–  having regard to the report drawn up by its Ad Hoc Delegation to country-regionIsraelplace and the PlaceNamePalestinianPlaceType Territories (30 May - 2 June 2008) and its conclusions,

–  having regard to the EU-Israel Association Agreement, and in particular to Article 2,

–  having regard to the results of the 8th meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council of 16 June 2008,

–  having regard to the pertinent UN resolutions,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949,

–  having regard to the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

–  having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1984,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989,

–  having regard to the Annual Report 2007 of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and in particular to the section regarding the occupied Palestinian territories,

–  having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas today more than 11 000 Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children, are being held in Israeli prisons and detention centres,

B.  whereas placecountry-regionIsrael released 198 Palestinian prisoners, as a gesture of goodwill, on 25 August 2008,

C.  whereas, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a signatory, a child is defined as a human being under the age of 18; whereas however, Palestinian children from the age of 16 are considered adults under the Israeli military regulations governing the occupied Palestinian territories, and are often held in inappropriate conditions of detention,

D.  whereas the vast majority of Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank and Gaza are held in prisons situated inside Israel's territory, which also makes their families unable to exercise their right to visit in a reasonable manner; whereas international humanitarian law prohibits the transfer of civilians, including detainees and prisoners, from an occupied territory to the territory of the occupying state,

E.  whereas Israel is holding hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in 'administrative detention' without charge or trial, without informing them of the nature of the suspicions against them, and without allowing them access to evidence in case they appeal their detention, this being against international law,

F.  whereas the issue of political prisoners has important political, social and humanitarian implications, and the arrest of 48 elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and other local councillors has serious consequences for political developments in the occupied Palestinian territories; whereas the 'Prisoner's Document', adopted in May 2006 by detained Palestinian political leaders from various factions, served as a basis for national reconciliation and paved the way for the establishment of a national unity government,

G.  whereas many Palestinian prisoners who are diagnosed as ill or injured by the International Committee of the Red Cross are denied appropriate medical care, in violation of Article 91 of the Geneva Convention VI,

H.  whereas relations between the European Communities and Israel, under Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, are based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which constitute an essential element of that agreement; whereas the EU-Israel Action Plan explicitly stresses respect for human rights and for international humanitarian law as being among the values shared by the parties,

1.  Stresses that the issue of Palestinian political prisoners, who have the capacity to be a moderating force both internally and as regards the conflict with Israel, has a major impact on both Palestinian society and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;

2.  Calls, in this context, for a substantial release of Palestinian prisoners, and, in particular, for the immediate release of the imprisoned members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, including Marwan Barghouti;

3.  Welcomes the recent release of 199 Palestinian prisoners, which was a gesture of goodwill by placecountry-regionIsrael, and stresses once more the importance of confidence-building measures in the peace process;

4.  Is aware of the importance of the recent mutual confidence-building steps taken by the Israeli government and Hezbollah in the context of prisoners; calls for similar steps to be taken by Israel and Hamas with a view to the immediate release of the Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit;

5.  Calls on Israel to bring its military legal system as applied to Palestinian children into line with international standards of juvenile justice, and with the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child in particular, with a view in particular to securing the immediate release of all detained minors from prisons and ending the practice of holding under-18s in 'administrative detention', and also to guarantee the conditions for detained or imprisoned juveniles as set out in the aforementioned UN Convention and other pertinent UN regulations;

6.  Calls on the Council, the Member States and the Commission to implement, in their relations with Israel, the EU Guidelines on Children in Armed Conflict, and to make the protection of Palestinian children detained by Israel an essential part of the dialogue at all levels of relations;

7.  Calls on the Israeli government and the Knesset to reconsider the Unlawful Combatants Law, which allows for administrative detention, and to bring it into line with international human rights and humanitarian standards;

8.  Reiterates its condemnation of all forms of torture and ill-treatment; calls on Israel to immediately ensure, in compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, that minimum standards of detention are respected regarding food, health care, prison space, protection from weather conditions and family visits, and to guarantee proper medical care to Palestinian prisoners;

9.  Expresses its deep concern over the situation of Palestinian women prisoners; calls on the Israeli authorities to considerably improve the protection of vulnerable detainees, with special regard to mothers and young women;

10.  Recalls Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, and calls on Israel to comply with international human rights and humanitarian law, with special regard to provisions relative to the protection of civilians living under occupation; expresses its strong belief that the upgrading of EU-Israel relations should be consistent with and linked to Israel's abiding by its obligations under international law, notably as regards international human rights and humanitarian law;

11.  Takes note of the statement by the Commission to Parliament on 9 July 2008 expressing 'great sympathy for the suffering of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails' and affirming that 'Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement will continue to remind both the European Union and Israel that respect for human rights and democratic principles are the basis of our bilateral relations';

12.  Welcomes the decision of the 8th meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council to establish a full-fledged Subcommittee on Human Rights, replacing the current Working Group on Human Rights; calls for the extensive consultation and full involvement of human rights organisations and NGOs in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territories in monitoring Israel's progress towards compliance with its obligations under international law;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Israeli Government, the Knesset, the President of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Council, the Commission, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the Quartet Envoy to the Middle East, the President of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Last updated: 28 August 2008Legal notice