Scottish MEP receives a letter of gratitude from the Palestinian Government and the Palestinian people for his work towards a just peace in the Middle East.
The SNP’s Alyn Smith, member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee, is part of a group of euro-parliamentarians campaigning for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement as a way to add impetus to the stalled peace process. The group of 63 cross-party MEPs has urged EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to consider the suspension “unless Israel takes substantial and immediate steps to bring its conduct in line with international law”.
“I am glad that our efforts have been acknowledged by Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, on behalf of the Palestinian Government. We are sending a strong signal to all parties that this conflict cannot go on and must end with a workable political solution.
“The bilateral relations between Israel and the European Union are interlinked with the relations between Israel and the Palestinians. Our call for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement is a reflection of our continuous disappointment with the way Israel is dealing with this complex, but not impossible, situation.
“After years of mounting frustrations widely expressed but rarely acted on, we have little option but to try and increase pressure on Israel to fully commit to peace talks and investigate reports of civilians being deliberately targeted and other war crimes committed during its recent onslaught against Palestinians in Gaza. These, if proven, are serious violations of international and humanitarian law and cannot be tolerated.
“There is also mounting European concern over continued Israeli settlement building in the illegally occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, despite the government's supposed commitment to a two-state solution.
“Israel reacted when the EU issued guidelines forbidding the use of European grants or funds by Israeli companies or organisations operating in settlements and we want to make our position clear again. We actively promote a two-state solution for the region and we want both sides to make that solution practicable.”