Strasbourg – 13 September 2018 – The AJC Transatlantic Institute today condemned the European Parliament’s unbalanced resolution castigating Israel for its plans to demolish the illegal Bedouin settlement Khan Al-Ahmar. The resolution’s harsh language against the Jewish state goes far beyond the joint statement of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK on 10th September as well as that of the HRVP from 7th September.
Unlike the EU legislature’s past resolutions dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict, which are usually supported by all major political groups and don’t diverge from standing EU policy on the issue, this resolution didn’t receive the backing from the EPP and ECR Groups, who refused to co-sign it. The text therefore passed only narrowly with 320 votes for, 277 against, and 34 abstentions.
“It’s simply irresponsible to turn a political disagreement into careless and dangerous accusations of “a grave breach of international humanitarian law,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute, the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) EU office. “The gratuitously strong language in this resolution and its veiled threats against Israel have undermined Parliament’s standing as a serious player and honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians.”
“It’s always upsetting to see double-standards applied to the Jewish state,” Schwammenthal stated. “But it was also reassuring to see that almost half of all MEPs present abstained or voted against this travesty. These MEPs deserve praise for refusing to lend legitimacy to this hostile and damaging text.”
The EU Parliament’s resolution came at the heels of the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to allow the Israeli government to move forward with the evacuation of the illegal structures of Khan Al-Ahmar. This Bedouin settlement is located in the so-called Area C of the West Bank, in close proximity to a busy highway, putting the residents and particularly children at great risk. Under the Oslo Accords, signed by the EU as a witness, Israelis and Palestinians agreed in this binding international agreement that Israel would retain full security and civilian control in Area C.
“It’s a widespread canard that the “viability of the two-state solution” is at stake with the demolition of these illegal structures,” Schwammenthal added. ”A viable Palestinian state doesn't depend on some makeshift housing, which actually endangers the lives of its Bedouin inhabitants who are being used as pawns in a larger political game. Far from infringing on the Bedouins rights or welfare, the demolition of the current structures would remove a great risk to the inhabitants' health and safety.”
“Peace will inevitably follow when Palestinians reject incitement and violence, build stable political structures free of corruption, and prepare their people for reconciliation and compromises. Unfortunately, the Palestinian society is developing in the opposite direction. If the EU really wants to preserve the viability of a future Palestinian state, it ought to focus its considerable leverage instead on working against these worrying trends,” Schwammenthal said.