Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) MEPs have voiced strong support for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and the resumption of efforts towards a political solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
This comes in the shape of a resolution entitled ‘The humanitarian situation in Gaza, the need for a ceasefire, and the risks of regional escalation’.
The resolution says that since 7 October 2023, 1,139 Israeli and foreign citizens, including 36 children, have been killed or sexually abused by Hamas.
Currently, it states that 136 hostages remain in Gaza. In response, the Israeli Army has killed over 23,000 Palestinians, including 10,000 children, with two million people displaced, according to the resolution passed this week.
Thirty percent of all civilian infrastructure has been destroyed. Additionally, over 140 UN staff, at least 81 journalists, and over 600 medical workers and patients have been killed. In the West Bank, Israeli forces and settlers’ violence killed 330 Palestinians, claims the resolution.
The resolution calls for the “bloodshed to stop now, the immediate release of all hostages, on the EU to intensify its political commitment to put the two-state solution back on track and on the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice to hold to account all those responsible for terrorist acts and violations of international law and war crimes.”
S&D co-negotiator and standing rapporteur for Palestine, Evin Incir, said: “We need to see a permanent ceasefire in Gaza as well as the immediate release of all hostages still held by Hamas. The humanitarian tragedy and the atrocities caused in Gaza by the Israeli army over the civilian population as a response to Hamas’ despicable terrorist attacks must stop and international law finally enforced.
“The European parliament raised its voice today to express its support for the ongoing investigations by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court against war crimes and the blatant violation of human rights in Gaza.
“We must do our utmost to relaunch the peace process and prevent the risks of regional escalation. As rightly pointed out by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, the war has to stop, not to expand.
“This must also apply to the West Bank where the Palestinian population lives under constant threat by Israeli forces and settlers. As reported by this resolution, the EU should impose sanctions against extremist violent settlers in Palestine.”
S&D Group vice-president for foreign affairs, Pedro Marques, added: “Bombs continue to fall in Gaza, claiming the lives of civilians, including children, UN staff, doctors, and journalists, in this dreadful war. Over 23,000 people have lost their lives under the Israeli bombs so far. To put it in perspective, this is equivalent to 5 million deaths if it were the EU population, more than the population of many European member states. How can we still call it a proportional response to the barbaric atrocities committed by Hamas?
“We condemned the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7th, and we continue to do so. Hamas is recognised by the EU as a terrorist group and should be eliminated, but not at any cost. Even in war, there are internationally binding rules that must be followed, with no exceptions. Collective punishment is simply not admissible.
“Therefore, we reaffirm our strong support for the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. Those responsible, from any side, for terrorist acts, human rights violations, and war crimes must be held accountable.
“The bloodshed must stop immediately. As stated in the EU Parliament resolution, an immediate and permanent ceasefire must be established. All hostages held by Hamas must be released without delay. War and violence can only bring death.
“The occupation of Palestinian territories, including Gaza, must come to an end, and an independent Palestinian state should be established following the spirit of the internationally recognised two-state solution agreed upon in the Oslo Accords. Negotiations are the only way forward.
“Too many lives have already been lost. It is time to stop”