JERUSALEM, September 21, 2018 (WAFA) – Following the visit of the EU Parliament’s Delegation for relations with Palestine to the Occupied Palestinian Territories on September 17 to 20, MEPs expressed their rejection of the destruction of Khan Al-Ahmar village and other communities facing eviction in Palestine.
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.
“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 said.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution on September 13 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”, added the delegation.
Call for EU action and recognition of State of Palestine
The delegation expressed 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 recognize 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 program 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.