Motion for a resolution - B8-0086/2018Motion for a resolution


5.2.2018 - (2018/2553(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Charles Tannock, Karol Karski, Ruža Tomašić, Anders Primdahl Vistisen, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Monica Macovei, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Arne Gericke on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0085/2018

Procedure : 2018/2553(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the situation of UNRWA


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the Geneva Conventions,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV),

–  having regard to the UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (III),

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967),

–  having regard to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees,

–  having regard to the remarks by Vice-President / High Representative Federica Mogherini ahead of the extraordinary session of the International Donor Group for Palestine,

–  having regard to the report of 1 July 2016 by the Middle East Quartet,

–  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Promotion among Youth of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual Respect and Understanding Between Peoples of 1965,

–  having regard to the UNESCO Declaration of Principles on Tolerance of 16 November 1995,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a vital UN agency providing key services such as education, health care and broader human development to Palestinians eligible for assistance;

B.  whereas UNRWA provides assistance to descendants of refugees, albeit only of males, in contrast to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which do not incorporate provisions on eligibility of refugee status being passed down to descendants and legally adopted children;

C.  whereas the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was initially reluctant to see individual Palestinians recognised as refugees for many years;

D.  whereas UNRWA provided services to 750 000 eligible Palestinians in 1950 and today provides services to around 5 million eligible Palestinians;

E.  whereas on 17 January 2018 the United States announced that it would cut planned funding to UNRWA; whereas the US State Department has frozen around USD 100 million in funding to UNRWA and is considering stopping all of its USD 360 million in annual funding and instead allocating it to other UN bodies working with Palestinians;

F.  whereas the US State Department announced that funds were frozen for future consideration and that additional US donations would be contingent on major changes by UNRWA;

G.  whereas the EU and its Member States collectively are the largest contributors to the agency’s humanitarian emergency appeals in Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza;

H.  whereas on 1 February 2018 UNRWA’s chief, Pierre Krähenbühl, asked the member states of the Arab League at its meeting in Cairo, Egypt, for increased funding for the agency;

I.  whereas on various occasions rockets have been found in UNRWA schools in Gaza and a tunnel under a UNRWA-run school in September 2017;

J.  whereas on 1 August 2014 Hamas abducted and killed Hadar Goldin hours after a UN- and US-brokered humanitarian ceasefire came into effect between Israel and Hamas; whereas Hamas, an EU-designated terror organisation, refuses to return the remains of Hadar Goldin for burial, in serious violation of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law;

K.  whereas on 22 December 2017 the UN Security Council held a special session on international humanitarian law and the repatriation of the remains of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, in which the Security Council and other UN member states expressed unanimous solidarity with the Goldin and Shaul families and demanded the return of the remains of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul as they are being held in violation of international humanitarian law;

L.  whereas a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is sought and whereas ongoing efforts are being made to restart negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, aimed at resolving all matters, including the refugee issue;

1.  Remains firmly committed to supporting UNRWA in its provision of vital services to eligible Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and aiding their human development;

2.  Notes UNRWA’s implementation of a reform programme since 2007 and calls on it, as a matter of urgency, to further implement reforms for the organisation to become more efficient and cost effective so that it can continue to carry out its important functions;

3.  Calls on UNRWA to see through greater reforms in education and to remove teaching material from the curriculum taught in its schools that do not conform with UNESCO- and UN-derived standards of peace and tolerance and to replace it with material that does;

4.  Condemns instances where UNRWA facilities have been used by Hamas for terrorist purposes and the employment by UNRWA of senior Hamas figures in the Gaza Strip; stresses that such actions severely undermine UNRWA’s good image and necessary work;

5.  Notes that any unexpected reductions in delays to predicted donor disbursements can have damaging impacts and may undermine stability in the region; calls, as a matter of urgency, for increased funding commitments by member states of the Arab League in order to close the funding gap;

6.  Underlines that UNRWA’s work in Gaza may be hampered as long as the remains of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul are not returned by Hamas or the Palestinian Authority;

7.  Offers its condolences to the families of Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul; deplores the refusal by Hamas to return their remains to Israel for burial;

8.  Calls for all efforts to be made for the immediate repatriation of their remains, in line with the provisions of the UNSC special session of 22 December 2017 and the relevant Geneva Conventions and humanitarian law;

9.  Calls for the release of Israeli citizens Avraham Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed, who have not committed any crime or offence that justifies their captivity by Hamas in the Gaza Strip;

10.  Notes that the greater goal of the international community is to see the Israeli-Arab conflict resolved, including the refugee issue; reiterates its continued support for a negotiated ‘two states for two peoples’ solution with the mutual recognition of Palestine and Israel as the homelands of their respective peoples; welcomes the Arab Peace Initiative with the subsequently endorsed land swaps in this regard for ensuring lasting peace and security; supports the return of direct bilateral peace negotiations without delay;

11.  Stresses that the illicit arms build-up and militant activity, the continued absence of Palestinian unity and the failure to recognise the right of Israel to exist hamper UNRWA’s effectiveness in providing key services to persons most in need, feed instability and ultimately impede efforts to achieve a negotiated solution;

12.  Strongly supports regional cooperation between Israel and its neighbours; reiterates its support for the important role of the Quartet and of regional partners such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in seeking a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict; calls on all parties to support dialogue and collaboration to the benefit of the civilian populations;

13.  Stresses the responsibility of the relevant EU authorities in continuing to ensure that no EU funding can be directly or indirectly diverted to terrorist organisations or activities that incite violence or justify or glorify terrorism;

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 EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of UNRWA, the Knesset and the Government of Israel, the President of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the member states of the Arab League.

Last updated: 6 February 2018
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