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European Parliament Supports Goldstone Report and Demands Accountability for International Crimes Committed during Operation Cast Lead

Wednesday, 10 March 2010 02:00 Ref.: LRAD-E010-PR-28/3
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Al-Haq would like to highlight and commend the resolution of the European Parliament demanding a follow-up on the report of UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, led by Justice Richard Goldstone. The resolution, adopted earlier today, in a vote of 335 to 287, calls upon the EU Member States and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, to publicly demand the implementation of the report’s recommendations and accountability for all violations of international law committed during “Operation Cast Lead.”

The Parliament urges Israel and the Palestinians to conduct investigations that “meet international standards of independence, impartiality, transparency, promptness and effectiveness” within five months and calls on the EU to “work towards a strong EU common position on the follow-up to the report.” To achieve this end, the EU High Representative Ashton is requested to actively monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the Goldstone Report, to assess the results of domestic investigations and to report on these assessments to the European Parliament.

Acknowledging the importance of civil society, the Parliament further suggests that the EU should cooperate with local NGOs in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory for the purposes of monitoring and evaluating domestic investigations and tracking the implementation of Goldstone’s recommendations. In the same vein, the Parliament expressed concerns about pressures on NGOs who either provided information to the Fact Finding Mission and/or are following-up on domestic investigations. The resolution therefore calls on the responsible Israeli and Palestinian authorities “to refrain from any restrictive measures towards the activities of these organisations.”

The resolution concludes “that respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law by all parties and under all circumstances is an essential precondition for achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” In this light, the resolution further condemns Israel’s illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip and calls “for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings.”

Strongly commending the resolution of the European Parliament, Al-Haq calls on the EU Member States and High Representative Ashton to respect the resolution and to act without delay in accordance with its recommendations.