Summary: July 23, 2004: STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION BY MR. BENGT VAN LOOSDRECHT, FIRST SECRETARY. ECONOMIC and SOCIAL COUNCIL - agenda item 11: Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan. EU STATEMENT ON THE RESOLUTION (New York)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union under item 11 on the draft resolution on "Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab Population in the occupied Syrian Golan".
The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA country Iceland and Liechtenstein, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.
The European Union expresses deep concern at the continuing humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and calls on the Israeli Government, in line with international law and UN Security Council Resolution 1544 to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law, to cease demolitions and to take urgent action to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians.
The EU calls on the Government of Israel to ease the plight of the Palestinian people through immediate actions. The EU underlines that action is particularly needed on the Israeli side to facilitate movement of Palestinian people and goods, as well as access by international humanitarian organizations into the Territories so as to improve the humanitarian situation and normalize the daily life of the Palestinian people that has continuously and drastically deteriorated during the past year. The EU calls on Israel to remove outposts, to reverse the settlement policy and activity, to end land confiscations. The EU recalls that, while recognizing Israels right to act in self defense and to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, Israel must exercise that right in respect with international law. The EU further recalls that it has demanded that Israel stops and reverses the construction of the Barrier inside occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, which is in contradiction to the relevant provisions of international law.
Mr. Vice President,
The European Union expresses concern at the continuing violence affecting both Israelis and Palestinians. It repeats its call for an end to terrorist attacks by extremist groups which have claimed many innocent lives. It calls upon the Palestinian Authority to take action against those involved in terrorism. It expresses deep concern at the continuing humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and calls on the Israeli Government, in line with international law and UN Security Council Resolution 1544, to cease demolitions and to take urgent action to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians.
Mr. Vice President,
The European Union welcomes the outcome of the Quartet meeting held in New York on 4 May and June 24. It also welcomes the renewal of the Beirut Peace Initiative of the League of Arab States and continued support for the Roadmap at the Summit meeting held in Tunis on 22/23 May and the League's rejection of acts of violence against civilians without discrimination.
The European Union is fully committed to promoting a lasting, peaceful and just settlement of the Middle East Conflict. As stated last month at the European Council in Brussels, The European Union is fully committed to give new impetus to peace efforts in the Middle East.
Mr. Vice President,
The European Union welcomes the prospect of Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Such a withdrawal would represent a significant step towards the implementation of the Roadmap, provided that it is implemented in accordance with the elements identified in the conclusions of the European Council of March 2004. The EU will not recognise any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those arrived at by agreement between the parties. In the framework of the Quartet, the EU will work with Israel for a complete withdrawal and with the Palestinians to assure security conditions.
The European Union reaffirms its belief that the Roadmap represents the only route to achieving a negotiated two-State solution. It is determined to pursue vigorously the course set out in the Roadmap and calls on both sides to fulfil their obligations under the Roadmap.
The European Union calls for renewed efforts towards a comprehensive ceasefire as a step towards dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure and renewed progress towards peace.
The European Union welcomes the establishment of the World Bank's Trust Fund and urges international support for this important initiative .
Finally, the European Union reaffirms its conviction that a just and durable solution in the peace process can only be achieved through negotiations between the parties and the support of the international community. Violence and terror have no place in the search for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. A political perspective is essential to the peace process.
Thank you, Mr. Vice President.