Sir, – While the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) continues to deteriorate, we are witnessing an unprecedented onslaught by the 37th Israeli government against all norms of civilised society at home.
True to the nature of the extreme, ultra-right, fundamentalist coalition assembled by Binyamin Netanyahu, the newly adopted government platform openly promotes sovereign rights of self-determination exclusively for the Jewish people on all of the land between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea. The steps that will allow the translation of this outlook into policy are anchored in coalition agreements that provide for the transfer of responsibility over the OPT from the military to civilian authority.
The notion of a “temporary” occupation has been exposed for what it is: a fallacy. The international community’s faith that Israel will eventually accept a two-state solution is insupportable in the face of the Israeli government’s declaration of its intention to remain in the OPT forever.
Europe must recognise this new reality and make it clear that Israel’s ongoing oppression of the Palestinians will come at a cost and that its efforts to quash democracy at home could turn it into a pariah state. Europe must insist that Israel uphold the fundamental values that are the bedrock of international relations – equality, the rule of law, and the sanctity of human rights – on both sides of the Green Line. Furthermore, we urge Europe to defend its values in the region by monitoring human rights violations by either side and reacting to them promptly. Europe must reiterate that both parties are entitled to exercise the right of self-determination and that United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 will be the primary basis for any future peace negotiations.
Israel’s declared intention to retain its hold on the OPT puts the request for an International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the occupation and its consequences in a new light. Europe should support this appeal as well, as the International Criminal Court investigation into the sides’ possible perpetration of war crimes.
We call upon Europe to prioritise assertive engagement with the parties through diplomatic and public channels to reverse the downward spiral, as instability in our region threatens the welfare not only of the parties to the conflict but also that of the neighbouring Arab countries, as well as European strategic interests in the region. – Yours, etc,
Ambassador ILAN BARUCH,
Ambassador ELI BARNAVI,
Ambassador ALON LIEL,
Policy Working Group – an Israeli team of senior academics, former diplomats, human rights defenders, and media experts engaged in advocacy to achieve a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict,