Motion for a resolution - B6-0415/2008Motion for a resolution



further to Questions for Oral Answer B6‑0166/2008 and B6‑0167/2008
pursuant to Rule 108(5) of the Rules of Procedure
by Charles Tannock, Jana Hybášková, Patrick Gaubert and Vito Bonsignore
on behalf of the PPE-DE Group
on the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails

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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 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 reports published in 2006, 2007 and 2008 by the Public Committee Against Torture in country-regionIsrael with the help of financial contributions from the European Commission and several placePlaceNameMemberPlaceType States,

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

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

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

B.  whereas the Israeli authorities have taken a number of 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 minors between the ages of 16 and 18, are being held in Israeli prisons and detention centres, and whereas most of those detainees were arrested in the PlaceNameplaceOccupiedPlaceName PalestinianPlaceType Territories,

D.  whereas 198 Palestinians were freed by the Israeli Government on 25 August 2008 as a gesture of goodwill and mutual confidence-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 about 50 per cent of the terrorists freed for any reason whatsoever have returned to the path of terror, either as perpetrator, planner, or accomplice; whereas at least 30 of the terrorist attacks perpetrated since 2000 were committed by terrorists freed in deals with terror organisations and those freed in those deals had murdered 35 Israelis;

G.  whereas steps were recently taken by the Governments of Israel and placecountry-regionLebanon to exchange prisoners for the bodies of Israeli soldiers,

H.  whereas around 1000 prisoners are being held in Israel on the basis of 'administrative detention orders', with the 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,

I.  whereas, according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), to which Israel is a signatory, a child is defined as a human being under the age of 18 years; whereas, however, Palestinian children from the age of 16 years are considered adults under Israeli military regulations governing the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and whereas, according to reports by human rights organisations, for the vast majority of Palestinian prisoners held in prisons situated inside Israel's territory, it is often impossible or very difficult for families to exercise their visiting rights, despite the appeals made by the International Committee of the Red Cross to Israel,

1.  Welcomes and endorses the recent decision by the Israeli Government to free a significant number of Palestinian prisoners as a positive gesture to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and restore 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 country-regionplaceIsrael and Hamas with a view to the immediate release of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit;

3.  Supports Israel's fight against terrorism and 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 bring all detainees to trial and to put an end to the use of 'administrative detention', which is an abuse of procedure which allows for prolonged and often unlawful captivity, to implement adequate measures for minors in jail, in accordance with international standards of juvenile justice and with the UNCRC, and to allow a less restrictive regime for visits to prisoners; calls on the Israeli authorities to comply with the UN Convention Against Torture, to put an end to all practices involving harassment and extracted confessions and to properly address the reports on the use of those practices;

5.   Calls on the Palestinian authorities to ensure that those freed from Israelis jails are not engaged in any other violent or terrorist acts and especially that no more children will be involved in such acts;

6.  Notes 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;

7.  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;

8.  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.