Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe take part in a debate at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, April 25, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
For the first time in its history, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Thursday, called for the Palestinian Authority to halt its payments to incarcerated terrorists and their families.
Israel swayed the council to include a denunciation of terrorist payments as part of its passage of an overall resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The bulk of the resolution was critical of Israeli actions over the pre-1967 lines and denounced US President Donald Trump’s declaration that recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“After a persistent effort we succeeded for the first time to include in the final report [resolution] a clear call to stop support for terrorists and their families,” said Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie, who addressed the council in Strasbourg, France.
But the bulk of the debate dealt with Trump’s Jerusalem statement.
Palestinian representative Muhammad Faisal Abushahla said the US president ignored Israel’s “occupation of Jerusalem” and that his declaration denied “Palestinian rights in Jerusalem as their capital for thousands of years.”
“It is a gift to the extremists and has proved that the United States administration is part of the problem rather than the solution. It encourages the extremists to violate international law and resolutions,” Abushahla said, adding that the US in its role as a peace broker has not yielded results.
“What is needed now is an international framework for the peace process, with more political rule from the European Union, plus their financial contribution; recognition of the Palestinian state and east Jerusalem as its capital; and the end of the Israeli occupation to save peace,” he said.
“[Please do] not push our people to lose faith in international law and turn to extremism and violence. Please do not take the olive branch from our hands,” Abushahla added.
Lavie told the council that its resolution and accompanying debate was “another expression of the obsessive preoccupation with the Palestinian- Israeli conflict, which has further distanced this assembly from becoming a real partner in promoting dialogue.”
Passage of such texts only encourage the Palestinians to relentlessly pursue Israel in international forums, she said.
“If this assembly is interested in addressing the Israeli- Palestinian conflict... I suggest beginning with the recognition of some basic facts, such as the ancient ties between the Jewish people and Israel, their homeland,” Lavie said.
With 47-member states, the council is Europe’s largest human-rights body. Israel has observer status before the council’s parliamentary assembly and the Palestinians have the status of “partner for democracy.”