Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, has led a key report on security challenges in the Middle East and North Africa adopted by the committee in Strasbourg today.
Alyn, who returned to Israel and Palestine last week, tabled an amendment that would see the European Parliament recognise the strong link between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the rise of radical voices in the Middle East. However, other political groups rejected the amendment, as they preferred not to mention Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.
"It is absurd to ignore the facts on the ground - Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories has direct consequences for the security and stability of the Middle East and our own security.
"I welcome the adoption of the report by a large majority after a great deal of cross-party work on the main challenges for the region. We in Europe must rethink our relationship with the highly destabilized Middle East and consequently we need to do a lot more to address those challenges.
"If we are genuinely committed to any Middle East peace process, double-standards towards Israel and Palestine have to end. Our continuous silence over Israel's occupation of Palestine, relentless siege of the people of Gaza and the ongoing Israeli settlement expansion on Palestinian land creates dangerous conditions where radicalization is made possible. I’m disappointed however that my amendment was rejected. I’m convinced that continuing occupation of the Palestinian territories plays a significant role in recruiting jihadi fighters, not only across the MENA region but also in EU Member States and this is something we must recognise.
"To fight radicalism we need to denounce all human rights abuses, make sure international law is upheld on the ground and support progressive voices within Israel and Palestine.
“My meeting with Palestine's Foreign Affairs Minister also clarified just how much is expected from international community and especially Europe and how important it is to break the silence and expose real cost of the occupation."
More information below:
Alyn Smith is in charge of his group's (The Greens/EFA) resolution on "The security challenges of the Middle East and North Africa and the prospects for political stability". The report as adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday June 11 will soon be available on the European Parliament's website. It is likely to be adopted in the European Parliament's July plenary session. Alyn tabled 41 amendments:
Alyn's oral amendment to the report (rejected this morning by other political groups):
"[The European Parliament] Expresses again its deep concern over the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza strip following Israel's siege which has affected the lives of 1.8 million Palestinians since 2007; Stresses that such a collective punishment is a breeding ground for extremist groups and is deeply counter-productive for the future stability and security of the region; Is of the view that Israel's continuing occupation of the Palestinian territories plays a significant role in recruiting jihadi fighters, not only across the MENA region but also in EU Member States."