Summary: November 10, 2004: STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. DIRK JAN VAN DEN BERG, AMBASSADOR, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE NETHERLANDS TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, on the Report of the Special Committee to investigate Israeli Practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian People and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (Agenda item 76) - FOURTH COMMITTEE (New York)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia , the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro align themselves with this declaration.
In this difficult moment, the European Union expresses its solidarity with the Palestinian people. It encourages the Palestinian leadership to demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility in ensuring the regular functioning of Palestinian institutions. The European Union considers it essential that a legitimate leadership continues to resolutely pursue the path towards peace in the Middle East.
The European Union is gravely concerned at the recent unprecedented cycle of retaliatory violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The European Union reiterates its full and unconditional condemnation of all forms of terrorism, including rocket attacks into Israel, and calls upon the Palestinian Authority to take firm action against the planners and perpetrators of such terrorist acts. Though the Union recognises that Israel has the right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, it stresses that the exercise of this right should take place within the boundaries of international law.
The Union also condemns the disproportionate nature of the Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip. These actions have claimed the lives of many innocent civilians, including children, and left many injured. Like Israel, the members of the European Union are state parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and in this capacity, the EU once again calls on Israel to fully respect the Fourth Geneva Convention. The EU reminds Israel of its obligation to ensure full and secure access for the diplomatic missions and humanitarian organisations.
The European Union, having heard, among others, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation on the Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967, calls on Israel to respect humanitarian and human rights law and comply with its obligations.
The European Union calls upon both parties to end the spiral of violence and to implement their obligations. The Union emphasises that the only way to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East is through the resumption of security co-operation and direct negotiations between the parties, as called for in the Roadmap.
The European Union, recalling the established EU positions, remains committed to the two-State solution as laid out in the Roadmap and agreed between the parties, which would result in a viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State existing side by side in peace with an Israel living within recognised and secure borders.
The European Union reiterates its view that an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and part of the Northern West Bank could represent a significant step towards the implementation of the Roadmap. The EU expresses its willingness to support such a withdrawal, provided that it comprises a full and complete withdrawal and is implemented in accordance with the five conditions laid down by the European Council in March 2004: