Following a Regulation Law adopted by the Knesset yesterday, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella stated:
„The S&D Group opposes and condemns the decision of the Israeli Knesset backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition to retroactively legalize about 4,000 settler homes built on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. We are facing here an unjust, unjustified and illegal measure against Palestinian people’s rights that will further undermine the foundations of the two-state solution and the chances for peace and stability. This is just the last in a long line of blows from the Israeli authorities to rip off piece-by-piece Palestinian land illegally occupied by Israeli forces. This detrimental decision follows Israel’s announcement last week that it plans to build a new settlement in the West Bank, despite a UN Security Council resolution in December condemning Israeli settlement construction. The S&D Group has proposed and obtained a debate on this matter in next week’s plenary session in Strasbourg. We cannot turn a blind eye and remain silent on a decision condemned by Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, as a measure that ‘will have far-reaching legal consequences for Israel and greatly diminish the prospects for Arab-Israeli peace’.”
S&D Group vice-president Victor Boştinaru said:
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„The decision of the Knesset to adopt a law retroactively legalising thousands of settler homes constructed on Palestinian-owned private land is a deliberate attack against the two-state solution. This decision goes against international law, against the vision of a just and lasting peace, and against the values of our partnership with Israel. The two-state solution – with the state of Israel and an independent state of Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security and mutual recognition along the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps, and Jerusalem as capital of both states – remains the only hope for peace and the cornerstone of our political position and action.”
S&D Group vice-president Elena Valenciano added:
„The Knesset decided yesterday to turn against the prospects of a two-state solution, which cannot be ignored and must have serious consequences in our relations with Israel. We fully support the postponement of the EU-Israel Association Council meeting but also call for further action in the context of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. The Knesset adopted this law with a slim majority; an appeal to the Supreme Court is expected. Therefore, we support all those fighting against this legislation in the Israeli parliament and through the judiciary. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s political agenda cannot prevail over legality, justice and the hope for peace.