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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: European Parliament
12 July 2007


Session document

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European Parliament resolution on the Middle East

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on the Middle East, in particular those of 7 September 2006 on the situation in the Middle East, 16 November 2006 on the situation in the Gaza Strip and 21 June 2007 on the MEDA programme and financial support to Palestine: evaluation, implementation and control,

– having regard to UN Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1559 (2004), 1701 (2006) and 1757 (2007),

– having regard to the conclusions of the External Relations Council meeting of 18 June 2007,

– having regard to the statements of 16 June 2007 and 27 June 2007 by the Quartet,

– having regard to the outcomes of the Sharm El Sheik Summit of 25 June 2007,

– having regard to the End of Mission Report of May 2007 by Alvaro de Soto, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary General to the PLO and the Palestinian Authority,

– having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas on the 40th anniversary of the 1967 war, which resulted in the occupation by Israel of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Golan Heights, the Middle East is racked by several conflicts and no results have been achieved in the efforts to arrive at a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab countries,

B. whereas Hamas has decided to take power in Gaza by military means and carried out the killing of Fatah and Palestinian Authority security force members despite the recent formation by the Palestinian Legislative Council and Presidency - both democratically elected bodies - of a unity government, on the basis of the Mecca Declaration,

C. whereas this dramatic development is mainly due to the political instability and growing divisions within the Palestinian side, and also to a lack of prospects of a genuine peace process for the Palestinian people, who are still under occupation, partly as a consequence of the Quartet's approach,

D. whereas the population living in the Palestinian Territories, and notably in Gaza, is facing a crisis of unprecedented proportions as far as poverty, unemployment, access to health care, education, security and freedom of movement are concerned,

E. whereas the restrictions on the movement of people and goods, the withholding of tax and customs revenues and the decision to suspend direct aid to the Palestinian Authority have contributed to the deepening of the crisis, in spite of the Temporary International Mechanism and the increased project aid provided by the EU,

F. whereas the Council has declared that the European Union would resume normal relations with the Palestinian Authority immediately and would develop the conditions for urgent practical and financial assistance, including direct financial support to the government, support to the Palestinian Civilian Police through the resumption of EUPOL COPPS and the resumption of the EU Border Assistance Mission in Rafah,

G. whereas it is becoming all the more urgent to take forward a credible peace process which can give the Palestinian people the prospect of an independent, democratic and viable state living side by side with Israel within secure and internationally recognised borders, and bring peace and stability to the Middle East,

H. whereas the re-launching of the Arab Peace Initiative at the Riyadh summit of the Arab League of 29 March 2007 offers a new and credible opportunity for a comprehensive settlement in the region,

I. whereas UN Security Council Resolution 1757 (2007) sets up an international Tribunal to try the persons responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and other political assassinations in Lebanon,

J. having regard to the worrying deterioration in the situation in Lebanon, illustrated by the attack on the Spanish contingent of UNIFIL, which left six people dead, the assassination of Member of Parliament Walid Eido and confrontations in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el Bared,

1. Expresses its deep concern about the possible grave consequences of the current crisis in the Middle East, including further military and terrorist attacks, and an increased radicalisation undermining the fragile political situation in the region;

2. Is extremely concerned about the latest events in the Gaza Strip; condemns Hamas's seizure of military control over the Gaza Strip; calls for the resumption of the internal political dialogue between Palestinians in a spirit of reconciliation and national unity in order to prevent the geographical and political division of the West Bank and Gaza;

3. Expresses its understanding and support for President Abbas's extraordinary decisions, given the serious circumstances, and stresses that the support of the international community for President Abbas must be accompanied by a concrete and realistic political plan leading to a permanent status agreement; believes that the current crisis is not an excuse to undermine the prospect of peace and may provide a new basis for re-launching a clear agenda to reach a comprehensive agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority based on the existence of two democratic, sovereign and viable states living peacefully side by side within secure and internationally recognised borders in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions;

4. Welcomes the Council decision of 18 June 2007 to resume normal relations with the Palestinian Authority immediately and, to this end, to develop the conditions for urgent practical and financial assistance including direct financial support to the new government, as well as to ensure the provision of emergency and humanitarian assistance to the population of Gaza; stresses that the isolation of Gaza has dramatic humanitarian and political consequences;

5. Calls on the Council and the Commission to involve the Palestinian authorities and all sides in efforts to facilitate emergency humanitarian aid and allow it to reach people living in the Gaza Strip;

6. Condemns the multiple attacks using Qassam missiles fired indiscriminately from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory and calls on the Palestinian Government as well as all Palestinian leaders to do their utmost to put an end to these attacks, most of whose targets are civilians;

7. Welcomes the decision of the Israeli Government to partially restart the transfer of the withheld tax and customs revenues; calls for a complete and regular transfer of these revenues; condemns the latest military intervention by the Israeli army; calls on the Israeli Government to immediately stop the military operations against the Palestinian people;

8. Stresses that a series of confidence-building measures should be taken by both Israelis and Palestinians with the assistance of the international community, including the immediate release of all the imprisoned Palestinian former ministers, legislators and mayors and the Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit; welcomes the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston and appreciates it as a positive step forward;

9. Calls on the Israeli Government to remove the roadblocks installed since September 2000 and to stop the extension of the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the building of the wall beyond the 1967 borders;

10. Welcomes the decision by the Israeli Government to release 250 Palestinian prisoners; calls for the release of more prisoners, as thousands of Palestinians are still detained, especially including minors;

11. Calls on the EU, Israel and Egypt to take all the necessary immediate measures to reopen the Rafah border crossing, particularly as 6000 Palestinians are stranded there in appalling conditions, and to facilitate the movement of people and goods between Gaza and Israel;

12. Welcomes the UN Security Council resolution setting up the international Tribunal to try those responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and other politically motivated assassinations in Lebanon; calls on the Council and the Commission to provide all the necessary means to enable this Tribunal to work effectively and carry out its mandate; urges all the Lebanese parties to support the Tribunal and urges Syria to fully cooperate in its work;

13. Strongly condemns the terrorist attack on the Spanish contingent of UNIFIL, which killed 6 soldiers and injured others, and calls upon the Lebanese authorities to do their utmost to undertake a clear and prompt investigation in order to prosecute those responsible; expresses its solidarity with members of the families of the victims of this attack;

14. Stresses that political stability in Lebanon can be built neither on violence nor on external influence; calls, in this regard, for a re-launch of the dialogue for national unity in order to bridge differences and prevent a governmental vacuum in the run-up to the presidential elections scheduled for the autumn of this year; reiterates, in this context, the important role of UNIFIL;

15. Urges the Lebanese Government to make every effort to put an end to all discrimination against Palestinian refugees; welcomes the prompt reaction of the European Commission, which has decided to allocate € 370 000 to provide humanitarian support for them in order to help meet vital needs; stresses that this emergency further underlines the necessity to find a just and comprehensive solution of the Palestinian refugee problem;

16. Calls for a sign of life from the two abducted Israeli soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, to be given by their kidnappers and calls for their immediate release;

17. Considers the regional dimension and approach the basis of all efforts to secure lasting peace in the Middle East, bearing in mind that neither preconditions nor unilateralism help these efforts; considers, in this context, the role of, and the dialogue with, Syria one of the key factors;

18. Recalls in this context the valuable contribution of the Arab Peace Initiative, which constitutes a genuine opportunity for comprehensive and lasting peace in the region; calls upon the Israeli Government to recognise the window of opportunity offered by this initiative; stresses the importance of the upcoming unprecedented Arab League mission in Israel as announced; calls for greater cooperation between the Quartet and the contact group of the Arab League;

19. Considers that the possibility of deploying an international civilian, police and military force, under the aegis of the UN, based on an agreed peace plan whose parties would include Israelis and Palestinians, and on an inter-Palestinian agreement, could be examined;

20. Urges the Council to ensure that the European Union finds its voice, also in the framework of the Quartet, in the efforts aimed at restarting genuine negotiations on the various tracks of the peace process in the Middle East; stresses that these tracks are not necessarily dealt with simultaneously but are closely linked; stresses that, in this political context, moving towards an international peace conference for the Middle East should become a viable prospect; calls on the Council to act in this direction in the framework of the Quartet;

21. Expresses its support for future intensified actions to be taken by the Quartet in the region; considers the letter of the Foreign Ministers of Mediterranean EU Member States of 6 July 2007, addressed to recently appointed Quartet Representative Tony Blair, an encouraging message and support for his mission;

22. Takes note of current negotiations on confidence-building measure between Palestinian Prime Minister Sallam Fayyad and the Government of the State of Israel concerning three-track talks on political, economic and security issues as well as the renewal of the security cooperation between them;

23. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative for the CFSP, the President of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Knesset and the Israeli Government, the Parliament and Government of Lebanon, the Parliament and Government of Syria, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.

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