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The European Union is deeply alarmed by the sharp escalation of violence and loss of human lives in 2018 in the occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in Gaza, where 189 Palestinians, including 35 children, were killed and 9,204 injured, with one soldier killed, 4 persons injured, and significant damages on the Israeli side, during the reporting period of the Commission. The Human Rights Council reacted to the situation by convening a special session last May.
Upon the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry at that Special Session the EU called on all parties to cooperate with the Commission and encouraged the Commission to work with impartiality and to investigate violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law from all Parties.
In repeated statements the European Union has reiterated its concerns regarding the escalation of the violence, and called on all to act with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life. As demonstrations are still going on, we call on Israel to respect the fundamental right to peaceful protest and the principles of necessity and proportionality in its use of force, while Hamas and those leading the protests in Gaza have a responsibility to avoid provocations, not to exploit the demonstrations for other ends, and to ensure that protests remain strictly non-violent.. The rocket and mortar fire towards Israel must stop. Indiscriminate attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable.
We thank the members of the Commission for their work and we are concerned by the grave findings in the short version, in particular that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there is possible unlawfulness of the use of live ammunition by Israeli security forces against demonstrators. The Commission is of the opinion that the Israeli government has consistently failed to meaningfully investigate crimes and violations committed against Palestinians. We will study carefully the full report, and urge the Israeli government to carry out meaningful investigations. The EU recalls that compliance with international law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law by States and non-State actors is a cornerstone for peace and security. The human rights of civilians on both sides must be respected.
The humanitarian and human rights situation in Gaza remains of grave concern. We reiterate the need for all humanitarian actors to be granted access into Gaza. The EU calls upon all parties to take swift steps for a fundamental change to the political, security and economic situation in Gaza, including the end of the closure and an opening of the crossing points, while addressing Israel's legitimate security concerns. As the health system in Gaza is severely deteriorated, we urge all parties to facilitate the entry of both much needed personnel and medical supplies.
We also wish to recall the EU’s principled position on Item 7. However, we believe that it is in the interest of all to ensure full cooperation with and access to UN mechanisms and Special Procedures.
The EU reaffirms its commitment to a just and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli Palestinian conflict through a two state solution negotiated between the parties, and will work towards this end in cooperation and coordination with international and regional partners.
Thank you for your attention.