EU must recognise Palestinian citizens of Israel and their struggle for equality
A two-day visit of elected members of the Joint List - the third largest political group in the Israeli Knesset - concluded yesterday after a series of meetings with EU officials and parliamentarians with an urgent appeal for the EU to put human rights at the centre of its relations with Israel.
The delegation hosted by GUE/NGL sought to bring attention to the struggles of Palestinian citizens of Israel who comprise 20 percent of Israel’s population. Taking part were Mr Yousef Jabareen (delegation leader; Hadash party), Ms Aida Touma Suleiman (Chairwoman of the Knessets’s Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality; Hadash party), Mr Jamal Zahalka (Chairman of the Joint List parliamentary group; Balad party) and Mr Masud Ganaim (Ta’al party).
The Joint List is the representative of Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Knesset and describes itself as the main party offering a progressive alternative for Israel and all Israelis who stand for an end to the occupation of the Palestinian territories, as well as for social and economic justice, equality and peace.
GUE/NGL MEP Martina Michels, member of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Israel, commented:
“I am glad to see the development of a progressive opposition in Israel. Real change can only come from inside the Israeli society. The Left in Europe stands in solidarity with progressive forces in Israel in their struggle for a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict, against racism and discrimination, for the protection of human and citizens’ rights, for social and gender equality.”
“Our group’s support for the Palestinian cause must go beyond partnerships in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. I am pleased with our flourishing ties with the Joint List,” the German MEP added.
Last week Martina Michels took part in the 43rd EP-Knesset joint parliamentary meeting in Jerusalem where she met with Members of the Knesset for the Joint List.
Addressing GUE/NGL MEPs yesterday, Aida Touma warned that the “two state solution is at a dangerous junction” due to the expansion of settlements and moves towards annexation by the Israeli government. Members of the delegation underlined that the EU needs to become more active in the international efforts to push for peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians instead of leaving it to President Trump.
Referring to the EU-Israel association agreement, the Joint List sees the human rights clause (article 2) as a valuable tool for the EU’s diplomatic efforts in particular to hinge progress on an end to settlement activity and equal rights for minority groups of which the Arab Palestinian minority is the largest.