European Union’s parliamentary committee pushes for war crimes investigation of Israel

European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee votes to back war crimes probe of Israel by the International Criminal Court, demands release of jailed Palestinian terrorists.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

The powerful foreign affairs committee of the European Union’s parliament voted Wednesday to endorse calls for the EU to assist the International Criminal Court in prosecuting Israel for alleged war crimes.

The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee voted 42 to 24, with nine abstentions, to back a resolution proposed by MEP Evin Incir, a member of the Swedish Social Democrats and rapporteur for recommendations on the European Union’s relations with the Palestinian Authority.

The resolution, which will go up for a vote in the full European Parliament next month, calls on the European Union to “consider targeted EU measures specifically addressing settlement expansion in the West Bank,” and to strengthen its ties with the Palestinian Authority, and to form an Association Council to facilitate dialogue with Ramallah.

In particular, the resolution urged that the European Union uphold “the principle of legal differentiation between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967 is applied consistently to the full scope of EU bilateral relations with Israel.”

In addition, Incir’s resolution demands that Israel release “all political prisoners,” including members of blacklisted terrorist groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

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In the draft approved by the committee, European lawmakers accused Israel of “war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the occupied Palestinian territories,” calling on the European Union to “commit to help the ICC and its prosecutor move forward with the investigation and the prosecution.”

The alleged Israeli crimes cited by the resolution included withholding funds from the Palestinian Authority over its stipends for terrorists – the so-called “pay-to-slay” law – and enforcement of building laws in Area C of Judea and Samaria.

Furthermore, the resolution took chided the U.S. Guatemala, and Kosovo for relocating their embassies to Jerusalem, saying the lawmakers “regret the unilateral decisions of some states to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital and move their embassies.”

After committee voted to back his resolution, Incir hailed what he called a “historic decision.”

“Palestinians have lived under occupation for more than 50 years,” the MEP tweeted. “[The] EU must strengthen its cooperation with the [PA], help the people and act to end the occupation. [The] PA also has a responsibility to promote [democracy] and reforms.”