Delegation MEPs call on EU countries to recognise Palestine 

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Following the Delegation for relations with Palestine’s visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 17 to 20 September, MEPs made the following conclusions:

Khan al Ahmar and the preservation of the future Palestinian State

During the mission, MEPs visited the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, one of 46 Bedouin communities living under the threat of eviction in an area that Israel has earmarked for the expansion of illegal settlements.

This area, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, is of strategic importance for preserving the contiguity of the future Palestinian state.

“We strongly oppose the destruction of the Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar and other communities facing eviction in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These demolition orders and similar ones by the Israeli authorities have a sole objective: to enlarge the settlements and divide the West Bank. It is part of the expansion policy of Israeli settlements, which are illegal, as stated in UN Security Council Resolution 2334”, delegation MEPs say.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on 13 September opposing an Israeli Supreme Court decision clearing the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar, and called on the EU to act immediately and ensure that the residents of the village keep their homes and school.

“The forcible transfer of people under occupation is a grave breach of international humanitarian law which can amount to a war crime”, MEPs say.

Call for EU action and recognition of State of Palestine

The delegation expresses solidarity with the Palestinian people and their decades-long struggle for freedom, justice and equality:

“We support the Palestinian right to self-determination and call for an end to the occupation. The EU and the European Parliament are convinced that a two-state solution is the only viable way to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Trump administration’s decision to end all funding of the UNRWA undermines vital education and health services to Palestine refugees while seeking to weaken their right of return. The EU must assume its international responsibility and preserve the activities of the UNWRA.

Our Palestinian partners have conveyed a strong message demanding action from the European Union. We call upon the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council to take decisive action in support of Palestinians’ right to self-determination. We reiterate our call upon EU member states to recognise the state of Palestine immediately”.

Effective implementation of EU differentiation policy

“Israeli settlements and their infrastructure are illegal under international law. Israeli settlers and companies use Palestinian resources to produce products that are traded and sold in the European Union. Settlements flagrantly violate international law,” the delegation said.

“We call on the European Commission and member states to fully and effectively implement the existing EU Guidelines and Interpretative Notice and the policy of differentiation. Specifically, no settlement-related activity can benefit from any EU cooperation programme such as Horizon 2020”.

Democracy and Human Rights

MEPs met several NGOs and representatives of civil society focusing on women’s empowerment and youth, as well as human rights defenders.

“We continue to support Palestinian NGOs fighting for democracy and human rights in the context of a shrinking civil space,” the delegation said.

The delegation also heard from East Jerusalem residents who told of the mounting pressure against their individual and collective rights.

East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Nablus

During their mission, MEPs met with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al Malki, legislators from the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and the Negotiations Department of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. The delegation also met with civil society organisations. The parliamentarians travelled to Nablus and met the mayor and business community leaders.

The delegation also met students at an UNRWA school at a refugee camp in the West Bank and witnessed first-hand the vital work to ensure education and health services to millions of Palestine refugees who have, for decades, been denied their UN-sanctioned right of return to their homes from which they were expelled.

The European Parliament delegation was led by Chair Neoklis Sylikiotis (GUE/NGL, Cyprus) and composed of five other members: Margrete Auken (Vice-Chair of the delegation, Greens, Denmark), Edouard Martin (S&D, France), Sofia Sakorafa (GUE/NGL, Greece), Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, Spain) and Enrique Guerrero Salom (S&D, Spain). Ms Gardiazabal Rubial joined the delegation as standing rapporteur from the budget committee, while Mr Guerrero Salom is standing rapporteur on humanitarian aid in the development committee.