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Document selected : B6-0416/2008

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PV 04/09/2008 - 3

Votes :

PV 04/09/2008 - 7.3

Texts adopted :

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2 September 2008
further to Questions for Oral Answer B6‑0166/2008 and B6‑0167/2008
pursuant to Rule 108(5) of the Rules of Procedure
by Brian Crowley, Roberta Angelilli, Eugenijus Maldeikis and Ryszard Czarnecki
on behalf of the UEN 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 heard the statement made to it by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner on 9 July 2008 on the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails,

–  having regard to the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to the results of the eighth meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council of 16 June 2008,

–  having regard to the report drawn up by its ad hoc Delegation to country-regionIsraelPlaceName and the placePalestinianPlaceType Territories (30 May-2 June 2008) and its conclusions,

–  having regard to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, and in particular to Articles 1 to 12, 27, 29 to 34, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 59, 61 to 77, and 143 thereof,

–  having regard to the International Committee of the Red Cross Annual Report for 2007, and in particular the section dealing with the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

–  having regard to the relevant UN resolutions on the Middle East conflict,

–  having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas country-regionplaceIsrael has been facing many deadly terrorist attacks against its civilian population in the last years,

B.  whereas the Israeli authorities have consequently taken a number of comprehensible measures to prevent those terrorist actions, including the arrest of suspected Palestinian militants; whereas, however, the fight against terrorism is no justification for the abuse of prisoners,

C.  whereas today around 10 000 Palestinians, including more than 300 between the ages of 16 and 18, are being held in Israeli prisons and detention centres; whereas most of those detainees were arrested in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

D.  whereas 198 Palestinians were freed by the Israeli Government on 25 August 2008 as a gesture of goodwill and mutual trust-building,

E.  whereas further negotiations are being conducted between the two sides with a view to reaching a more comprehensive agreement on the status of the other prisoners,

F.  whereas steps were recently taken by the Governments of Israel and country-regionplaceLebanon to exchange prisoners for the bodies of Israeli soldiers,

G.  whereas around 1000 prisoners are detained in Israel on the basis of 'administrative detention orders' – a procedure allowed under international law, in accordance with Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 – with a right of appeal but without charge, trial and defence rights; whereas such 'administrative detention orders' can be, and in some cases are, renewed for years,

H.  whereas most of these prisoners are teenagers between 16 and 18 years and, according to human rights organisations reports, juvenile prisoners are held in inappropriate conditions of detention and are subjected to increased harassment,

I.  whereas, for the vast majority of Palestinian prisoners held in prisons situated inside Israel's territory, it is never easy to obtain the right to receive visits from their families, despite the appeals made by the International Committee of the Red Cross to Israel,

J.  whereas the official Palestinian authorities are unable to ensure that those responsible for acts of terrorism are punished and therefore to provide effective security for the area of the Palestinian territories, and whereas the recent showdowns between Al Fatah and Hamas have shown the extent of divisions between these forces, with all the implications for the security of the State of Israel and its population,

1.  Welcomes and encourages the recent decision by the Israeli Government to free a significant number of Palestinian prisoners as a positive gesture towards strengthening the Palestinian Authority and restoring a climate of mutual trust;

2.  Welcomes the recent mutual confidence-building steps taken by the Israeli Government and Hezbollah concerning prisoners; calls for similar steps to be taken between placecountry-regionIsrael and Hamas with a view to the immediate release of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit;

3.  Supports Israel's fight against terrorism and its proportionate acts of defence, but believes that the rule of law must be fully respected in the treatment of prisoners on all sides, this being a crucial step for a democratic country and towards restoring the climate of mutual trust needed if substantial progress is to be made in the peace negotiations;

4.  Calls on the Israeli authorities to limit as much as possible the use of 'administrative detention', which – though permitted by the Convention of Geneva – allows for prolonged and often unjustified captivity, to implement adequate measures for minors in jail, in accordance with international standards of juvenile justice and with the Convention for the Rights of the Child, to allow a less restrictive regime for visits to prisoners and to avoid any use of torture;

5.  Notes that Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement will continue to remind both the European Union and placecountry-regionIsrael that respect for human rights and democratic principles are the basis of our bilateral relations;

6.  Welcomes the decision taken at the eighth meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council to establish a fully-fledged Subcommittee on Human Rights to replace the current Working Group on Human Rights; calls for human rights organisations and NGOs in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to be extensively consulted and fully involved in monitoring Israel’s progress towards compliance with its obligations under international law;

7.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Israeli Government, the Knesset, the President of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Legislative Council, 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, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross.


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