Representatives from 24 European countries, including parliamentarians, legal experts, journalists, and activists, met in Brussels earlier this week in the first European conference on Israeli settlement activity, agreeing on a declaration that accuses Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” in the West Bank.
According to a press release, the agreement was named the Brussels Declaration, and agreed on the following stipulations:
1. Israel, the occupying power of the Palestinian territories since 1967 continues its policy of confiscating and judaizing Palestinian land and building settlements over it. These settlements have turned, with the passage of time, into an incubator for settler’s “terrorist organizations” such as HiiltopYouth, Paying the Price and Revenge.
2. With this premeditated policy of settlement expansion, it is, therefore, inappropriate to talk about dismantling political or security settlements, but rather, see this movement as a structure colonial policy that was able to colonize a large part of the West Bank not less than 60 percent of its size. This policy has, in fact, established an Apartheid regime, which violates the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which determines in its article 8 that the settlements are a war crime, and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice issued on 9 July 2004 regarding the Apartheid Wall, which was qualified as a serious violation of international law and UN resolutions, especially Security Council resolution 2334 (2016). This resolution clearly states that all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law and constitute an obstacle to the establishment of a contiguous, viable and fully sovereign Palestinian state.
3. The Brussels Conference, taking note of the above mentioned facts, considers the continuation of the settlement activities terminates all chances for the two-state solution and rather solidifies the apartheid system as practiced by the occupation policy. The Conference calls for the immediate termination of all settlement activities pursued by the occupying state in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
4. The Brussels Conference calls on the international community to assume its legal responsibilities by addressing these racist policies of the occupying Power and put serious pressure on it to respect the relevant international law. The European Union, which has extensive relations and a partnership agreement with the Israeli occupying state, should pressure Israel to shoulder its responsibility to bridge the gap between its words and actions in the context of Israeli settlement policy by activating Article 2 of the Partnership Agreement to pressure Israel to respect its obligations as the occupying power.
5. The Brussels conference also calls on the EU countries to match their words with deeds, not just by issuing statements of denunciation and condemnation, rather adopting effective measures to hold Israel accountable by imposing a complete ban on all direct and indirect financial, economic, commercial and investment activities with Israeli settlements until it submits to international law.
6. The participants in this Conference, as they condemn the settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territories as a violation of international law, they emphasize, as well, the important role that can be played by political forces, parliaments, human rights organizations and civil society organizations in the EU countries to confront Israeli expansion plans and settlement construction. They also call upon the Governments of the EU and its constitutional institutions to shoulder their responsibilities in accordance with their collective responsibility to reject Israel's violations of the rights of Palestinian citizens under occupation in a manner that compels Israel to respect its obligations under Partnership Agreement at the minimum, and not permit settlers and their leaders to enter the EU countries and bring them to international justice as war criminals if they do.
7. The participants in the Conference call on the peoples of the world and their peace-loving democratic forces to actively participate in the international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, known as BDS, and to pressure Israel to comply with international law.
8. The Conference also affirms its full support for the Palestinian initiative to refer constructing new settlements, expanding existing settlements and settlers’ violence against Palestinian to the International Criminal Court as war crimes.
9. The participants in the Conference salute the growing state of solidarity with the Palestinian people and their just cause. They also commend the peoples of the world’s rejection of Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid as pursued by the Israeli occupation state.
10. The participants in the Conference call for confronting this policy by forming a European committee of participating countries represented in this Conference to expose the ongoing violations of the occupation forces and build up the pressure to prosecute Israeli war criminals until Israel complies with international law.