Conflict between Israel and Hamas, human rights situation Gaza Strip

Conflict between Israel and Hamas, human rights situation Gaza Strip
The current conflict between Israel and Hamas, and the human rights situation in the Gaza Strip

On Tuesday 23 January, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution 2524 concerning the Hamas terrorist attack of October 7 and the situation in Gaza. The Group of Socialists, Democrats and Greens (SOC Grpuo) welcomes the Assembly's unequivocal condemnation of the atrocities committed by Hamas, and its call for the immediate release of the Israeli hostages. Our Group also welcomes the Assembly's call for a permanent ceasefire, given the thousands of innocent victims and the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. Our Group shares the Assembly's common position and calls for a lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

We recognize that Hamas is the catalyst for the current conflict, as is the prolonged occupation of Palestinian territories, record settlement expansion, increasing settler violence, demolitions, land confiscations and evictions, arbitrary detentions, raids and provocations, and political polarization in Israel.

Under international law, Israel has the right to defend itself against this terrorism. However, those who rely on international law must also respect it.

The SOC Group of the Parliamentary Assembly notes with great concern reports that Israel's military actions do not sufficiently protect civilians or facilitate humanitarian aid, and therefore do not respect the principles of proportionality and distinction enshrined in international humanitarian law.

Our Group recalls that, according to UN figures, 70% of the more than 33,000 victims recorded to date in Gaza are women and children, and that more than 170 UN aid workers have been killed. We express our sincere sorrow to the families of the civilian victims of the conflict.

A ceasefire is more crucial than ever for the Palestinian civilian population, as is the immediate release of the Israeli hostages.

We also recall that a viable resolution to the conflict through a two-state solution requires not only an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the release of the Israeli hostages, but also an improvement in the situation throughout the Palestinian territories.

We therefore call on member states to use their diplomatic channels to enjoin the Israeli government to end the blockade of Gaza, and to halt and reverse the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank, which is a criminal violation of international law.

We also call on member states to take urgent measures to ensure that Israel puts an end to settler violence, the displacement of Palestinian communities and the use of force by the Israeli army in the West Bank.

In addition, we reiterate the call made in the resolution adopted by the Assembly to do everything possible to bring sufficient and unimpeded humanitarian aid to the population of Gaza, which is threatened with starvation according to officials from the World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). Israel must quickly facilitate access for humanitarian aid. After 6 months of conflict, famine is setting in among the population of Gaza, and the entire territory is plunged into a nightmare that will be irreversible without an immediate ceasefire.

We stand in solidarity with the civilian population of Gaza, which lacks food, medicine, water and fuel due to the total siege imposed by Israeli forces, while Hamas continues to allocate its resources to attacks against Israel. The current strategy against Hamas is not proving effective. It must be modified, taking into account the humanitarian situation of civilians as a priority. We stand alongside the Jewish community directly affected by the consequences of the conflict, just as we stand alongside Palestinians living in Europe whose family members and loved ones are suffering in Gaza.

We, the SOC Group, want the Council of Europe to play a central role in addressing the issue of long-term peace in the Middle East. Israel and the Palestinian territories are observers in our organization. Our vision is nothing less than to see the State of Israel become a member of the Council of Europe, adhering to all the obligations of the European Convention on Human Rights, while at the same time having a viable State of Palestine that can aspire to membership of the same Organization. To achieve these objectives, all violations of international law, in particular those cited in this declaration, must cease immediately.

We condemn Iran’s recent attacks on Israel, following the bombing of the Iran’s consulate, and call on all actors to exercise restraint and de-escalation.

Finally, the SOC Group affirms its determination to wage a relentless struggle against all forms of anti-Semitism and racism. It must be waged with a concern for the universality of the values that form the common foundation of our Group: solidarity, equality, and freedom.

April 2024