This week, Palestinians are marking the 50th anniversary of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. For half a century, Israel has continued to deny Palestinians their freedom and basic human rights in complete disregard for international law and UN resolutions.

Instead of ending the occupation – as demanded by the international community – Israel has taken concrete steps to make the occupation permanent by moving approximately 650,000 settlers into 125 settlements and 100 “outposts” in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) while retaining almost exclusive control over land and natural resources. In addition, Israel has illegally annexed East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, built an illegal Wall inside the West Bank and kept, for over a decade, the Gaza Strip under blockade.

Two sets of law apply to Israeli settlers (civil law) and Palestinians (military law) residing in the same territory. Many respected commentators and lawyers have described this situation, where Palestinians are even prohibited from using certain roads reserved only for settlers, as apartheid. Just as the world came together to force an end to the apartheid regime in South Africa, the international community must unite to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinians with similar means.

The EU must therefore suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement in harmony with its Article 2, until Israel respects human rights.  The EU must also implement a ban on the import of products originating in Israeli settlements. Israeli settlers with dual EU citizenship, who are suspected of violence against Palestinians, must be prosecuted in European courts.

GUE/NGL stands in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. The persistence of the occupation, and the impunity afforded to Israel by European countries, have fuelled global instability. It is now more urgent than ever that the EU takes action to force Israel to comply with international law and human rights based on an agreed and just two-state solution.

GUE/NGL Members of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Palestine (DPAL):

Neoklis Sylikiotis (chair, Cyprus)
Martina Anderson (Ireland)
Patrick Le Hyaric (France)

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