Hundreds of European MPs sign letter against 'Israeli apartheid', call for justice for Palestinians

Hundreds of European MPs sign letter against 'Israeli apartheid', call for justice for Palestinians
Hundreds of European MPs from 21 countries submitted a letter urging action to protect Palestinians from Israeli dispossession, siege and apartheid practices.
3 min read
10 December, 2021
UK MPs were among the signatories of the letter [Getty]

Hundreds of European parliamentarians co-signed a letter on Tuesday urging the European Union (EU) to take action against Israel's forced dispossession of Palestinians, referencing apartheid and the ongoing siege on the Gaza Strip.

A total of 370 European lawmakers from 21 countries submitted the letter to European foreign ministers and the EU's High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell.

The letter referenced a Human Rights Watch report which slammed Israeli violations against Palestinians as being so severe that they meet the legal definition of the crime of apartheid according to the Rome Statute.

Among the signatories were the UK's former Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP Diane Abbott and Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.

The MPs said that they are "deeply concerned" about the escalations taking place against Palestinians and that they are "alarmed" at the violence that took place in the besieged Gaza Strip over the summer.

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In May, Israel launched an 11-day bombardment operation that killed 250 people, including 66 children, and destroyed some 2,200 homes and damaged 37,000 others.

"We are alarmed by the latest escalation in Gaza, the civilian casualties on both sides and the devastating humanitarian consequences for the already hard-hit population in Gaza. We call upon both sides to protect all civilians and to keep them out of harm’s way, as well as to provide unhindered humanitarian access as mandated by international humanitarian law", the letter said.

The MPs asserted that Israel's last offensive in Gaza "makes clear that the status quo is untenable and that it is both urgent and imperative that we address the root causes of this flare-up."

They also deplored the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"The widespread displacement and forcible transfer of Palestinians taking place across the West Bank, including imminently in the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, are part of that reality", the MPs said in their letter.

"Europe must work together with like-minded allies to challenge this status quo and to take robust steps to pave the way for a safer, just and democratic future for Israelis and Palestinians alike."

"Violations of international law, like the ones we witnessed unfolding, must come with robust consequences, in Israel-Palestine, as elsewhere. It is crucial that the EU and European governments support relevant international accountability efforts," they added.