My speaking points for discussion in the Renew Europe Group meeting on the 10th of October 2023
We must condemn in the strongest terms the horrible terrorist attacks by Hamas against innocent Israeli civilians over the weekend.
It should be acknowledged, and we must recognise the emotional weight of recent and past events and their impact on both sides. Not just now, this weekend, but from the past decades. The unresolved conflict between Israel, Palestine and the other Arab countries is one of the most highly emotive political issues in international relations.
We must acknowledge the pain and suffering experienced by families affected by the terrorist attack. Make it unequivocally clear that such acts have no place in any civilised society.
The safety and security of Israeli citizens are essential, and this commitment remains steadfast. Underline that it is Israel’s fundamental right to defend its population and its sovereign land.
Our resolution must underline that all parties must abide by international humanitarian law to protect civilian lives, journalists and medical workers. We must firmly condemn any targeting of civilians or civilian infrastructure.
We should emphasise the right to defend oneself also comes with a grave responsibility to act with discretion and proportionality. Gaza is the most densely populated area in the world. We should recall that half of Gaza’s 2 million civilians are children and that indiscriminate bombing or shelling these densely populated areas will further escalate the situation.
While defending itself, Israel must prioritise protecting civilian lives, especially children and medical personnel, who have already died under the missiles and bombing.
Therefore, in our message, we should emphasise the importance of upholding international humanitarian law (rules of the war) and human rights and ensuring accountability for any unlawful actions committed by any party involved. These principles must form the bedrock of any just and lasting resolution.
Let me highlight the significant presence of children in Gaza and that we must consider their safety and well-being. I feel we must acknowledge the genuine and pressing difficulties faced by the Palestinian people in Gaza after years of blockade under the rule of Hamas.
I will stress that the Hamas militias and the regular Palestinian people are not one – they should be firmly distinguished and not be mistaken or conflated as one.
Call on the EU and the international community to address the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as it stands in the year 2023. Unfortunately, we in the EU must begin to acknowledge that the two-state solution from the Oslo Accords is widely considered moot. Considering both the reality of the situation before the 7th of October and after the Hamas terrorist attacks, that radically changes what response we need to have from the international community.
Our resolution from the European Parliament must also urge the international community to rally behind a fresh, concerted effort for real peace. We must consider while drafting that the situation between Israel and Gaza is at a breaking point.
Therefore, we must start a new endeavour for a peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine. We must be guided by wisdom, empathy, and a genuine commitment to peace and prosperity for all parties involved. In this process, we must also call upon the Arab world to continue the normalisation process with Israel and a process that includes the plight and support of the Palestinian people.
[published 20 October back dated to the day of the meeting]
The Renew Group tabled a Motion for Resolution on Monday 16th, following our internal discussions: MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the despicable terrorist attacks of Hamas against Israel, Israel’s right to defend itself in line with humanitarian and international law and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Following negotiations between the political groups led by Hilde Vautmans for Renew, we voted Thursday 19th on a JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the despicable terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel, Israel’s right to defend itself in line with humanitarian and international law and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
You can find posts by me on the so-called Middle East Peace Process on my website: Here is one from May 14 2021, regarding how the EU must uphold international law when dealing with Israel (in Danish): Europa bør beskytte Palæstina med international love. See also from 2015 regarding bus advertisements in Copenhagen regarding Israel-Palestine maps, also in Danish.
European Parliament Resolutions on Israel-Palestine of December 2022: JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the prospects of the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine