Council of Europe: Stop settlement construction

MKs at European body's meeting disappointed at resolution calling to release prisoners, saying new Mideast realities not considered.

June 6, 2013 14:19
1 minute read.
Construction in Jerusalem's Har Homa neighborhood

Settlement Construction 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Israel must stop settlement construction and release Palestinian parliamentarians from prison, the diplomatic body of the Council of Europe declared in a motion approved Thursday.

Israeli representatives in the meeting, MKs Nachman Shai (Labor) and Ronen Hoffman (Yesh Atid), were disappointed at the results of the vote, saying the resolution ignores recent changes in the Middle East and the new dangers they bring to Israel.

The resolution calls for Israel to stop construction in new and existing settlements, stop demolishing Palestinian homes and expropriating land in Judea and Samaria, stop administrative detentions and the transfer of prisoners to Israel, and free Palestinian legislators from prison.

The Council of Europe is a 47-country organization that promotes democracy and oversees the European Court of Human Rights The diplomatic panel expressed disapproval that they were unable to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, even though they met Jordanian and Palestinian Authority leaders ahead of the vote.

“My colleagues and I are pressuring the Israeli government to immediately start negotiations, but we expect that you, the Council of Europe and its parliament members, join the general effort and pressure the Palestinian Authority to remove any precondition for talks,” Shai told the committee.

At Shai and Hoffman’s last minute request, the committee amended the resolution, not allowing Hamas to participate in negotiations unless they accept the Quartet’s conditions and changing “separation wall” to “separation barrier.”

In addition, the committee canceled its call to give Israeli Arabs collective rights as a national minority, as opposed to personal rights, which they already have.

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the main cause of instability in the region,” Hoffman said. “The committee should also deal with the Syrian civil war, the massacre of civilians, Hezbollah’s involvement, and the rise of radical Islam and terror.”

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