Motion for a resolution - B7-0561/2012Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the Israeli Government’s decision to expand settlements in the West Bank

10.12.2012 - (2012/2911(RSP))

to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and the Commission
pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Hélène Flautre, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Margrete Auken, Malika Benarab-Attou, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Judith Sargentini, Ulrike Lunacek, Bart Staes, François Alfonsi, Keith Taylor, Jean‑Jacob Bicep, Rui Tavares on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0561/2012

Procedure : 2012/2911(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on the Israeli Government’s decision to expand settlements in the West Bank


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the Middle East, in particular its resolution of 22 November 2012 on the situation in Gaza[1],

–   having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 19 November 2012 on Gaza,

–   having regard to the statement of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, of 2 December 2012 on the Israeli Government’s intention to expand settlements,

–   having regard to the statement of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon concerning the 3 000 newly authorised Israeli settlement units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank,

–   having regard to Resolution A/HRC/RES/S-12/1 on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council at its 12th Special Session on 16 October 2009,

–   having regard to the report of the EU Heads of Mission on East Jerusalem,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas on 22 November 2012, by an overwhelming majority, the UN General Assembly backed the proposal by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to change Palestine’s status at the UN to that of a non-member observer State;  

B.  whereas the Israeli Government unanimously rejected the UN General Assembly decision, describing the move as a gross violation of the agreements that have been signed with the State of Israel;

C. whereas the day after the UN General Assembly vote the Israeli Government announced the authorisation of 3 000 housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and decided to continue planning and zoning work for the development of the so-called E1 project between Jerusalem and the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim;

D. whereas, if carried out, the E1 project would cut East Jerusalem off from the rest of the West Bank and partially separate the northern and southern West Bank; whereas, in the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, this ‘would represent an almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-state solution’;

E.  whereas, further to this, the Israeli Government announced that it would be stopping the transfer of tax revenues collected this month on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, instead using the money to pay off about half the debt run up by the Authority to the Israel Electric Corporation;

F.  whereas the EU failed to adopt a common position on the vote at the UN General Assembly, with 14 Member States voting in favour, 12 abstaining and 1 voting against the Palestinian bid; whereas some Member States summoned Israeli ambassadors to express concern at the Israeli Government’s decision to expand settlements in the West Bank;

G. whereas negotiations between the two sides for a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict have been suspended; whereas Israeli settlements in the West Bank are constantly expanding, as also shown by the recent publication of calls for tender for more than 1 200 housing units in the settlements of Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev;

H. whereas, in the absence of an effective EU control mechanism, Israeli settlement products continue to arrive on the European market under preferential treatment; whereas, in its resolution of 5 July 2012, the European Parliament called for ‘full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and EU-Israel bilateral agreements to ensure that the EU control mechanism – the “technical arrangements” – does not allow Israeli settlement products to be imported to the European market under the preferential terms of the EU-Israel Association Agreement’;

I.   whereas the end of the expansion of settlements is considered by the Palestinian side to be a precondition for the resumption of talks; whereas Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories are illegal under international law and irreversibly jeopardise the two-state solution;

J.   whereas Palestinians’ right to self-determination and to their own state is unquestionable, as is Israel’s right to exist within safe borders;

K. whereas on 21 November 2012 Israel’s ‘Pillar of Defence’ operation came to an end as a result of an Egyptian-brokered agreement with Hamas in the Gaza Strip; whereas the border crossings in and out of the Gaza Strip have been closed since June 2007; whereas the blockade of the Gaza Strip represents collective punishment of the population in contravention of international humanitarian law;

1.  Deplores the Israeli Government’s decision to push ahead with the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, and in particular to continue preliminary work on the E1 project that would irreversibly hamper the future constitution of a viable Palestinian State;

2.  Stresses that this decision made after the historic upgrading of Palestine’s status appears to be an act of retaliation and unjustified punishment of the Palestinians in response to the initiative by Mahmoud Abbas, which was supported by 138 countries in the UN;

3.  Takes the view that Palestine’s new status at the UN will help better to balance the role of the parties with a view to the resumption of direct negotiations;

4.  Reiterates its view that there is no alternative to a negotiated comprehensive settlement of the conflict, leading to a two-state solution with Israel and a Palestinian State living side by side within secure, internationally recognised borders; urges, in this connection, the parties to make every effort to create the conditions for the resumption of direct substantial negotiations;

5.  Calls on the Israeli Government to resume transferring tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority in compliance with the agreements signed and in order not to aggravate the already difficult humanitarian situation in the Occupied Territories;

6.  Welcomes the agreement of 21 November 2012 brokered by Egypt, which put an end to the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, and calls on the parties to engage in further negotiations so as to consolidate the ceasefire and pave the way for a permanent halt to all hostilities;

7.  Calls for the immediate end of the Israeli blockade on Gaza with a view to facilitating access to the Strip for international humanitarian assistance and respecting the dignity and right to a better future of the Palestinian population living there;

8.  Stresses that respect for human rights and international humanitarian law by all parties and in all circumstances remains an essential precondition for achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and points out once again that peaceful and non-violent means are the only way to achieve a sustainable solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians;

9.  Continues to call for Palestinian reconciliation, which is the way to reunite Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, who are part of the same Palestinian people living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

10. Calls once again for the freezing of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank in order, inter alia, to pave the way for the resumption of constructive and substantial negotiations between the parties;

11. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to make every effort to achieve the full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and EU-Israel bilateral agreements in order to ensure that the EU control mechanism – the ‘technical arrangements’ – does not allow Israeli settlement products to be imported into the EU market under the preferential terms of the EU-Israel Association Agreement;

12. Considers it regrettable that once again the EU failed to speak with one voice at the UN on the legitimate bid of Mahmoud Abbas to upgrade Palestine’s status, and calls on the Vice‑President / High Representative to draw the lesson from this unfortunate recent European shortfall in order to find ways to avoid such situations in the future;

13. Reaffirms that any upgrading of relations between the EU and Israel must be strongly conditional upon strict compliance with international law and humanitarian law, including the immediate lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip, a total freeze on all settlement constructions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and real commitments and actions aimed at a comprehensive peace settlement and the full implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement between the European Community and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO);

14. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the Quartet Envoy to the Middle East, the Israeli Government, the Knesset, the President of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly bodies.