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Delegation for relations with Palestine

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE CHAIR

The Delegation for relations with Palestine

supports hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners and warns against force-feeding

Brussels 24/04/2017

The European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with Palestine supports the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails as they enter their eighth day of protest for the respect of their human rights and their human dignity, Delegation Chair Neoklis Sylikiotis stated.

“Palestinian prisoners’ rights are already being violated under international law by their transfer out of Palestinian territory to jails in Israel – this is a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention,” Chair Sylikiotis said. “Further, prisoners are being punished by being deprived of their family visits, they suffer medical negligence and are subject to administrative detention on secret evidence without charge or trial, for indefinite periods. This in itself is a form of psychological torture.”

“We call on EU High Representative Federica Mogherini to insist in any dialogue with Israel that all the Palestinian political prisoners and all the Palestinian children being held illegally be immediately released, and that that Palestinian prisoners must be held within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and that their human right to a fair trial be respected,” Chair Sylikiotis urged on behalf of the Delegation.

Human rights organizations and Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, including former political prisoner Khalida Jarrar, who met the Delegation on its recent visit to Palestine, underscored how this issue affects all of Palestinian society, with most Palestinians having a family member imprisoned. Israel detains Palestinians on a range of charges, from raising the Palestinian flag or participating in a demonstration, to Facebook posts.

The Delegation expressed strong solidarity with the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in its meeting today. Strike leader Marwan Barghouti sent a message to the Delegation in which he said the prisoners confirm their decision to strike regardless of the sacrifice, suffering and pain.

“Hunger-strikes are usually a measure of last resort and one of the few peaceful means that prisoners have to protest the violations of their rights,” Chair Sylikiotis said. “Now the international community must be vigilant against the threat of force-feeding of prisoners, given the law passed by Israel in 2015 and upheld recently by the Israeli Supreme Court, despite the protests of the medical community”.

The Israeli Medical Association has said that force-feeding is tantamount to torture and the World Medical Association explicitly prohibits the force-feeding of hunger strikers considering it a form of inhumane and degrading treatment.

Force-feeding those who have consciously and freely decided to go on hunger-strike is a violation of their fundamental rights and must not be done,” Chair Sylikiotis said, “Rather prisoners’ rights and their human dignity should be respected, and international law upheld”.

Background:

Palestinian authorities say a staggering 800,000 Palestinians have been arrested and incarcerated since Israel occupied the Palestinian territory in 1967, and since 1948 the total goes up to 1 million.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, a prisoner support organization, there are currently 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons. These include 500 administrative detainees, 56 women and 300 children. Thirteen members of the Palestinian Legislative Council are also currently in jail. Three of them, Samira Halaykah, Mohammad Al-Til and Ibrahim Dahbour, were arrested in March. PLC Member and strike leader Marwan Barghouti was put into solitary confinement when the strike began, as were other strike leaders.

The hunger-striking prisoners are calling for an end to administrative detention, torture, unfair trials, the detention of children, medical negligence, solitary confinement, degrading treatment and the denial of family visitation rights and the right to education.



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European Parliament 2014-2019

Delegation for relations with Palestine

8-12 February 2016

West Bank/Gaza–Palestine

Press statement

European Parliament delegation: Israeli destruction of EU-funded humanitarian structures must stop East Jerusalem, 11 February 2016. Following a four-day official visit, the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with Palestine expressed alarm at the deteriorating situation on the ground. Israeli occupation policies are a direct threat to the two-state solution. The expansion of settlements, demolitions, forcible transfers and evictions must stop immediately, Delegation Chair Martina Anderson said. Palestinians need hope, freedom and human rights. The way to these is by ending the occupation. Following the EU guidelines on the indication of origin of goods originating from the territories occupied since 1967 by Israel, the EP delegation assessed what further action the EU should take regarding settlements in order to comply fully with international law and EU

legislation. The EU must be a player, not only a payer. We are incensed by Israel's increasing number of demolitions of humanitarian structures funded by EU taxpayers. People are losing their homes in the cold and the rain. Israeli policies violate international law and show disrespect for the EU, Israel's biggest trade partner, Chair Anderson said. International organizations gave witness to

the substantial deliberate targeting of EU-funded humanitarian aid structures by Israeli authorities, recently stepped-up apparently in retaliation for the EU guidelines on indication of origin of products from Israeli settlements. These demolitions are hitting hard particularly the rural Bedouin community.

Members of the European Parliament expressed concern at the use by Israel of administrative detention without formal charges. The case of Mohammed Al-Qiq, a journalist on hunger strike for 79 days, is particularly alarming. Over 500 other Palestinians, including minors, are currently detained administratively. Palestinian reconciliation is more urgent than ever. Elections must be held as soon as possible. A united Palestinian leadership is essential for the two-state solution and for the future of Palestinian youth, Ms. Anderson said. Israeli authorities once again refused the delegation access to Gaza, where the European Parliament has not been allowed in since 2011.This is unacceptable, Chair Anderson said.

The cross-party Delegation for Relations with Palestine is in the West Bank from Monday 8 to Friday 12 February. The group has met with high-level Palestinian officials and civil society in East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, Susya, Abu Nwar, Jabal al Babaand the Jordan Valley, as well as with UN partners.

This statement is endorsed by Martina Anderson (Chair of Delegation, GUE/NGL), Margrete Auken (ViceChair of Delegation, Greens), Eugen Freund (S&D), Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE/NGL) and RosaD’Amato (EFDD).

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