Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja
European Union Presidency
Dear Foreign Minister Tuomioja,
The Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) appears to be on the eve of another possible defining moment, this time triggered by the proclaimed cessation of hostilities between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority and the GoI’s call for the resumption of peace talks. In light of the possibility that the EU will consider that these developments constitute a sensitive juncture in the MEPP and that they therefore call for the EU to speak with extreme caution, we would like to convey our hope that the EU will not fail again to publish its report on east Jerusalem this year.
Last year the European Council determined that the publication of the east Jerusalem report prepared by the Jerusalem and Ramallah Heads of Mission would be “counter-productive” in light of political considerations. The leaked report’s content consisted of public facts regarding GoI actions taking place in or around east Jerusalem in contravention of international humanitarian law (IHL), and suggestions of possible EU actions in support of the EU position on east Jerusalem. We appreciate the EU’s commissioning of the report, the fact that the report was clearly anchored in international humanitarian law, and the position taken in it that the status of east Jerusalem remains an issue for the international community and not for Israel alone.
We were therefore alarmed that the publication of the Report was apparently suppressed in part out of consideration for Israel’s internal political affairs. We note that we would be equally alarmed were the EU to suppress publication of a report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law perpetrated by internationally-responsible Palestinian actors out of consideration for internal Palestinian political sensitivities.
The efforts invested in the MEPP have not yet brought about the desired goal of an agreed two-state solution. Instead the prospect for a just and durable solution to the conflict has been greatly diminished over the last decade, and we have both witnessed and experienced a severe erosion of our human rights and ability to conduct public life. We consider the root cause of the conflict and the current dismal situation in the oPts to be Israel’s politically-instrumentalized violations of IHL and the international community’s failure to demonstrate any credible will to restrain them. If third-state sponsorship of the MEPP continues to be infused with such exceptional neglect of international law, and accommodation to its persistent violation, the formula for organizing that sponsorship must be re-thought. It is not in the interest of either of the peoples that progress and restraint are now seen to flow only from escalations of unlawful violence, mutual fear and despair.
We note that the decision not to publish the 2005 report occurred in the same meeting in which the Council expressed its encouragement for EU initiatives that “promote further mainstreaming of human rights in Common Foreign and Security Policy”. As well, in its document “A Secure Europe in a Better World: European Security Strategy” of 2003, the European Council affirmed that a key EU objective is “upholding and developing International law’. At the end of 2005 the EU published its European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law. As protected persons we hope that the EU’s promising and correct declarations on international law will be matched by EU action within the Quartet. Further measures in support of the MEPP should not fail to present all parties and actors with strong incentives to respect international law and strong disincentives to persist in its violation.
None of us doubt the fact that the increasing isolation of east Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied territories and the impoverishment and disenfranchisement of its Palestinian population are contrary to the EU’s strategic and humanitarian interests, as well as it values. Enabling the GoI to conduct its external relations with little or no consequence resulting from its ongoing violations of international humanitarian law, including violations of erga omnes obligations, is not in the interest of the Community of states. Avoiding public discussion of such obligations does not build confidence in the prospects for a peaceful political solution.
Credible and visible efforts to promote compliance on all sides with international humanitarian law are now required to wean the parties away from recourse to unlawful violence, and to establish conditions favorable to political dialogue and political solutions.
The Coalition for Jerusalem
The Coalition for Jerusalem is a league of religious dignitaries, political factions, civil society organizations, and individuals based in Occupied East Jerusalem. It is a non violent, direct action group formed in 2004 to oppose Israeli Government arbitrary measures to alter the Status of East Jerusalem in violation of International Legitimacy and Human Rights Conventions, and to reaffirm that East Jerusalem is the Capital of the future Palestinian State. For further information, please contact: The Coalition for Jerusalem C/O PNGO Office Tel.: +970-2-2975320/1. Fax.: +970-2-2950704. Email: email@example.com