UNGA 10th Emergency Special Session: EU Statement on Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory

UNGA 10th Emergency Special Session; Illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory; Statement by H.E. Ms. Kirsti Lintonen, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN, on behalf of the European Union, New York, 17 November 2006.

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

*) Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

The European Union expresses its deep concern at the escalating violence in Gaza and in the West Bank. We strongly deplore the Israeli military action in Gaza resulting in a growing number of civilian casualties, including women and children, and deplores the unacceptable military operation in Beit Hanoun on 8 November 2006. We deeply regret the growing number of civilian casualties, many of them children, as well as the destruction of houses and other civilian infrastructure. The European Union calls on Israel to cease its military operations that endanger the Palestinian civilian population in the Palestinian Territory.

While recognising Israel’s legitimate right to self-defence, the European Union urges Israel to exercise utmost restraint and underlines that action should not be disproportionate or in contradiction to international humanitarian law. It is also imperative that the humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people be urgently alleviated.

The European Union also strongly deplores the firing of rockets on Israeli territory and calls on the Palestinian leadership to bring an end to such acts. We deplore the loss of an Israeli life in a Kassam rocket attacks in Sderot on Wednesday. The deterioration of the situation will only aggravate the already grave circumstances in the region where a return to a comprehensive peace process with a clear political perspective is urgently needed. To achieve this, an immediate cessation of violence is needed. We repeat our call for the immediate release of the abducted Israeli soldier. We also repeat our call for immediate release of Palestinian ministers and legislators detained in Israel.  

The European Union urges the Palestinians to work for national unity and to form a government with a platform reflecting the Quartet principles and allowing for early engagement. Such a government of national unity would also be a partner for the international community to support the re-launching of the peace process.

The European Union reiterates its intention to actively contribute to the work within the Quartet to get the Middle East Peace Process urgently back on track in order to make progress towards a comprehensive settlement on the basis of the Roadmap, relevant UNSC resolutions and the commitments made at Sharm el-Sheikh in 2005. This should be done in close cooperation with Arab partners. The international community must provide its full support to the parties in this respect.

The European Union underlines the necessity of a political perspective and reinvigorating the peace process through re-launching negotiations. To support the objective of a future, independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state based on the rule of law, the EU underlines the importance of preserving and strengthening the capacity of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority.

The European Union reaffirms that it will not recognise any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by both parties. We recall the urgent need to make progress towards a comprehensive settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The European Union underlines that it will continue actively its efforts to this end.