European MPs have come together to oppose the illegal plan of Israel’s Prime Minister to annex part of the Palestinian West Bank, under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Convened by Stephen Kinnock MP, Co Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Palestine, colleagues from France, Ireland, Belgium and the U.K. agreed to challenge and seek to deter this criminal act. Recognition of the state of Palestine alongside Israel on pre-June 1967 lines is the logical next step for governments committed to the two-state outcome which is U.K./EU policy. Further, the MPs determined that Israel should not profit economically from illegal settlements/annexation.
Below is the text of their statement, now open for signature by Parliamentary colleagues in Europe and the USA. If you would like your MP to sign, please send the statement to him/her with your request – I will gladly add names.
Sir Vincent Fean, Chair, Balfour Project
No to Israeli annexation plans
We, the undersigned, share our deep concern at the threat of illegal Israeli annexation of part of the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Unilateral annexation of any part of the West Bank would be a grave breach of international law, and a further obstacle to achieving equal rights and self-determination for Palestinians. Annexation must not pass unchallenged.
We fully support our Parliamentary colleagues in Europe, the United States and Israel who have spoken out against annexation – particularly in the letter initiated by Avraham Burg, former Speaker of the Knesset, and signed by 1080 Parliamentarians across Europe. The letter states:
“A lasting solution to the conflict must meet the legitimate aspirations and security needs and guarantee equal rights of both Israelis and Palestinians… Acquisition of territory by force has no place in 2020 and must have commensurate consequences”.
We note with approval the statements of the European Union and of the Governments of Ireland, France, Sweden, Belgium and the United Kingdom that Israeli annexation would be a violation of international law and not be recognised.
In fulfilment of the right to self-determination of both the Palestinian and the Israeli peoples, we commend the decisive votes in our respective Parliaments in favour of recognition of the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel on pre-June 1967 borders, as a prerequisite for a comprehensive peace, ending the Occupation:
United Kingdom – vote of the House of Commons, 13 October 2014
Ireland – vote of the Seanad, 22 October 2014, and of the Dail, 10 December 2014
France – vote of the Sénat, 11 December 2014, and of the Assemblée, 21 December 2014
Belgium – vote of the House of Representatives, 5 February 2015.
This is a clear basis for further action by these Governments.
We recall the decision of the Government of Sweden on 30 October 2014 to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.
We considered commensurate consequences in the event of annexation. We agreed that Israel’s international standing, already harmed by systematic illegal acts of settlement construction, would be damaged very significantly by any act of annexation – and that Israel should not benefit economically from these acts.
We invite Parliamentarians elsewhere in Europe and in the United States to join in a coalition of the willing to avert annexation and to preserve the prospect of Palestinian self-determination and equal rights for both peoples within a two-state framework: a secure, sovereign Palestine alongside a secure, sovereign Israel.
We will meet virtually as soon as required by developments on the ground.
Stephen Kinnock MP, UK
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, UK
Els Van Hoof MP, Belgium
Jacques Maire, député, France
Gwendal Rouillard, député, France
Michael McDowell, Senator, Ireland
Thomas Hammarberg MP, Sweden
Crispin Blunt MP, UK
Seema Malhotra MP, UK
Alistair Carmichael MP, UK
Julie Elliott MP, UK
Andy Slaughter MP, UK
Dr Philippa Whitford MP,
Tommy Sheppard MP, UK
Richard Burden, UK