The European Parliament condemned the Palestinian Authority for incitement to violence and antisemitism on the same day that it approved a resolution to have the EU strengthen its ties with the PA.
Lawmakers across the political spectrum in Strasbourg supported, for the third time since December, a call to freeze funding to the PA until its curriculum is aligned with UNESCO standards and hate is removed.
They said that EU funding is being “misallocated to activities that incite hatred and violence,” and called for a change in line with Brussels’s strategy to fight Antisemitism. The legislators demanded the “deletion of all antisemitic references and removal of examples that incite hatred and violence,” linking incitement in textbooks to “rising involvement of teenagers in terrorist attacks.”
However, the call to end incitement came with a recommendation for the EU to strengthen its ties with the PA.
That resolution, proposed by MEP Evin Incir of the Swedish Social Democrats, focuses more on condemning Israel than helping the Palestinians, mentioning Israel 75 times and “Palestine” and Palestinians only 46 times.
Inconsistency towards Israel in Europe
The MEPs called for the EU to help the International Criminal Court prosecute Israel for war crimes, with the resolution saying that “express regret about the limited progress in the ICC’s investigation into war crime was and crimes against humanity committed in the [occupied Palestinian territories] and commit to helping the ICC and its prosecutor to move forward with the investigation and prosecution.”
The resolution also called to “consider targeted EU measures specifically addressing settlement expansion in the West Bank.”
The MEPs expressed concern that "EU financial assistance in the Palestinian territories [is] being undermined by illegal settlements and demand compensation for the demolition of all EU-funded infrastructure in the area." Last year, Israel razed structures paid for by the EU and illegally built in Area C, which is under Israeli control under the terms of the Oslo Accords.
In addition, it called for the release of “all political prisoners,” which MEP Charlie Weimers of the conservative ECR group pointed out “include members of EU-listed terrorist organizations such as Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
“The ECR amendment that sought to correct this by including the word ‘peaceful’ got rejected. This is a travesty,” Weimers said.
Still, pro-Israel MEPs managed to have language calling for an EU-Palestinian Association Council, a high-level dialogue meant to strengthen relations between the EU and non-member countries and to condemn Palestinian terrorism.
Incir said that by passing the resolution, the European Parliament "stress[es] the importance of respect for international law in the pursuit of a just and lasting peaceful two-state solution. A strong and democratic Palestinian Authority is an essential part of reaching that goal. An end to the occupation and to the expansion of Israeli settlements is equally vital."
The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry said it "greatly appreciates the resolution's clear support of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination, as well as the clear stance in support of the International Criminal Court's work, its impartiality, and neutrality.
"We value the call on the EU to assist the ICC and its prosecutor in advancing the investigation and prosecution of ongoing violations," the PA stated. "We welcome the parliament's call for targeted EU measures against Isralei settlements and the call on Israel, the occupying power, to withdraw terrorist designations of Palestinian NGOs is also an important step towards enhancing civil society engagement."
Foreign Affairs Committee member MEP Miriam Lexmann of Slovakia, from the European Parliament’s largest party, EPP, said that “official Palestinian Authority textbooks teach hatred and violence, and demonize both Israel and the Jewish people…The EU, as the biggest donor to the Palestinian Authority and to UNRWA, must ensure that our taxpayers’ money is not misused and perpetrating the conflict. We need strengthened oversight, transparency, and accountability.”
Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, which monitors textbooks in the Middle East, commended the European Parliament for taking a position against incitement.
“The involvement of so many young Palestinians during the recent violence in Jenin demonstrates the deadly results of this indoctrination,” Sheff said. “It is imperative that the EU Parliament’s concerns are followed by swift and concrete action. Failure to do so will have tragic results for generations of Palestinian children.”