Resolution on the Goldstone report adopted by the EU parliament

European flagEuropean Parliament press release. 13th March 2010.

Parliamentary session 8-11 March

Gaza conflict: implementing the Goldstone recommendations

Respect for human rights by all parties to the Gaza conflict, independent investigations of alleged violations of human rights, a strong EU common position on the follow-up of the Goldstone report and close monitoring of its implementing measures are Parliament’s key demands in a resolution adopted on Wednesday.

All parties should respect human rights

“Respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law by all parties under all circumstances and trust-building between Israelis and Palestinians are essential components of a peace process leading to two states living side by side in peace and security” says the resolution, which stresses “once again the importance of achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and between Israelis and Palestinians in particular”.

Independent and impartial investigations within the next five months

The European Parliament “urges both sides to conduct investigations within five months that meet international standards of independence, impartiality, transparency, promptness and effectiveness.” This is in line with the UN General Assembly resolution adopted on 26 February, which requests a further report, as the recent report of the UN Secretary General was “inconclusive on investigations into possible violations of international law during the deadly 2008/2009 conflict in Gaza.”

Implementing and monitoring the Goldstone recommendations

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and EU Member States should work towards a strong EU common position on the follow-up to the Fact-Finding Mission report on the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel, says the resolution.

They should also publicly “demand the implementation of its recommendations and accountability for all violations of international law, including alleged war crimes, and urge both sides to conduct investigations that meet international standards of independence, impartiality, transparency, promptness and effectiveness”, it adds.

Furthermore, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Member States should “monitor actively the implementation of recommendations included in the Goldstone Report by consulting the EU’s external missions and NGOs working in the field”, it says.

No restriction of NGO activities

MEPs stress the importance of co-operation between official authorities and NGOs, and are concerned about “the pressure placed on NGOs involved in the preparation of the Goldstone report and in follow-up investigations”. They call on authorities on all sides “to refrain from any measures restricting the activities of these organisations”.

Finally, Parliament welcomes the Council’s 8 December 2009 call for “an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings” along the Gaza-Israel frontier as the blockade has further worsened the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

The resolution was approved with 335 votes in favour, 287 against and 43 abstentions.