S&Ds support the two-state solution and oppose Israeli settlements
The European Parliament held a plenary debate on Israel and Palestine today, focusing on settlements in the West Bank.
S&D Group vice-president Victor Boştinaru MEP said:
„The situation on the ground has worsened: both parties are dealing with their own internal politics and the peace process isn’t a priority for either side. There are things that Israelis and Palestinians can do today – independently of each other – that would help move towards peace.
“The Middle East peace process remains our priority for the sake of the whole region.
“The two-state solution, with the state of Israel and the state of Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security, and mutual recognition along the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps and Jerusalem as capital of both states, remains the only hope for peace and the cornerstone of our political position and action.
“The settlement construction is a clear violation of international law. The S&D Group opposes and condemns the decision of the Israeli Knesset to retroactively legalise about 4,000 settler homes built on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. This law goes against the vision of a just and lasting peace, against UN resolution 2334 adopted last December and against the values of our partnership with Israel.
„The European Union and the world should take concrete steps to encourage Israel to halt any new settlement construction. Therefore the S&D Group requests that the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs convenes a Quartet meeting as soon as possible to discuss the next steps to be taken.”
„We also regret that the right-wing majority in our Parliament continues to block the adoption of a resolution on this issue, preventing Parliament from expressing its views in this important area.”
S&D Group vice-president Elena Valenciano said:
„Israel is doing nothing to bring about peace in the Middle East or towards the final settlement of the conflict with Palestine.
„After imposing an armed presence in another country, imposing controls on the movement of people in another country and building a wall to separate lives and hopes in another country, Israel has now decided to legislate for another country. That is simply inconceivable; it is unacceptable.
„The recent bill to legalise Israeli settlements on Palestinian land paves the way for the annexation of the West Bank and is destroying – little by little – the solution of the two states.
„Condemning and sanctioning Russia for the annexation of Crimea while permitting Israel the slow annexation of the West Bank is a double standard that the EU cannot afford anymore.
„In the past 20 days Israel has authorized 5800 illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Fortunately, there are already 52 members of the Knesset who have opposed the majority of only 60, against the ‘regularisation’.
„By following the path of colonisation, illegal expansion, discrimination and exclusion, what Netanyahu is doing is bringing his people to the brink of a new conflict. That cannot happen with our support, nor with our acceptance.
„The people of Israel have the right to be a people of peace, a people for peace in the region. The European Union would be at their side, to facilitate the end of the conflict, with two neighbouring states living in peace and sharing Jerusalem as their capital.”
Foto: EPA/ALAA BADARNEH
Video: European Parliament