Members of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee have endorsed a resolution calling on the EU to assist the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israel for its war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The resolution, spearheaded by Swedish Social Democrat MEP Evin Incir, the rapporteur for recommendations on the EU’s relations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) was adopted on Tuesday, with 41 votes in favor, 21 against and 9 abstentions. It is scheduled to go to a plenary vote in July.
“The committee regrets the limited progress in the ICC investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the occupied Palestinian territories, and is committed to helping the ICC and its prosecutor in advancing the investigation and prosecution,” the resolution said.
Following the vote, Incir said the Palestinian people “have lived under occupation for more than 50 years,” adding that the EU “must show its true commitment through a strengthening of its cooperation with the PA and acting to end the occupation.”
He also hailed the resolution as a “historic decision.”
The legislators further expressed concern over Israel’s “punitive measures” against Palestinians, urging the EU to consider targeted measures specifically addressing Israel’s settlement expansion policies in the occupied West Bank while demanding compensation for the demolition of all EU-funded infrastructures there.
They went on to say that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law, demanding an immediate end to the construction of new settlements.
Pointing out that these settlements constitute a major obstacle to the viability of the two-state solution, including lasting peace and security, the MEPs called for new efforts to end the latest round of settlement-related violence.
The MEPs also urged the EU to enforce Brussels’ policies on Israeli products from the West Bank, stressing that the bloc should exclude Israeli products produced in the occupied territory from the EU-Israel Free Trade Agreement.
The committee also called for closer ties between Brussels and Ramallah in the form of an Association Council, a high-level dialogue meant to strengthen relations between the EU and non-member countries.
Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.
The Tel Aviv regime has also stepped up its settlement expansion activities since last December, when Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power as the prime minister of the regime’s most far-right cabinet.
More than 700,000 Israelis live in 279 settlements built across the occupied West Bank since Tel Aviv's occupation of the territory in 1967.
The international community regards the settlements as illegal under international law and the Geneva Conventions given that they have been constructed on occupied land.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued illegal settlement expansion.