The SYRIZA - Progressive Alliance delegation in the European Parliament
To the attention of:
Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Vice-President of the European Commission
13 May 2021
Subject: Recent clashes in East Jerusalem and military escalation in Israel and the Gaza Strip
Dear High Representative Borrell,
The recent clashes in East Jerusalem and the consequent military escalation in Israel and the Gaza Strip jeopardizes peace and stability in the region and peaceful co-existence of Israelis and Palestinians.
The violent repression of Palestinians protesting the eviction of families from their homes since the 1950s in the Sheikh Jarrah district of occupied East Jerusalem, is a unilateral action that clearly violates international law, which should be respected by all parties. It brings back into the discussion the issue of the creation and expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied territory and the urgent need to stop this policy.
As a result of the on-going escalation, Palestinian and Israeli civilians have been killed and hundreds have been injured in clashes of locals with Israeli police and settlers and the consequent military action by both sides.
The ongoing violence in Jerusalem has caused international concern, including by the Middle East Quartet (UN, EU, USA, Russia), which has expressed "grave concern" over the violence in Jerusalem and expressed its opposition to unilateral action, which escalates into an already tense environment, as well as by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who also called on Israel to "stop demolition and eviction under its obligations" under international human rights law. The UN Security Council also discusses the increasing tensions in Jerusalem and the wider region.
In these dramatic times, the EU and the international community cannot remain indifferent or make mere formal statements, simply expressing concerns.
The EU should send a clear message against the expulsion of Palestinian families and the violence against protesters in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and towards the immediate cessation of all violence.
The EU should take concrete initiatives and underline that Israel should restraint and refrain from violence that escalates conflict and inter-ethnic and inter-religious hate in the region and call on all sides to fully respect international law and to find a peaceful solution on the settlement issue and to initiate immediately credible talks for a two-state solution, the only viable solution, as the UN has repeatedly underlined in its resolutions.