SP Senator Kox to Israel: Let the Palestinians go!

29 January 2014

SP Senator Kox to Israel: Let the Palestinians go!

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is to continue the special cooperation with Palestine aimed at promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the Palestinian territories. A resolution from SP Senator Tiny Kox won an overwhelming majority this week in Strasbourg, where the representatives of every parliament of the forty-seven European states are currently holding their annual winter session.

Tiny KoxSenator Kox, rapporteur on Palestine for PACE, stressed the interest evident in the Palestinian territories in this special cooperation. ‘In the last two years nobody has suggested that this partnership isn’t a good thing,’ he said. ‘At the same time the sustainable development of a democratic Palestinian state where the rule of law prevails will only be possible if the illegal Israeli occupation ends. Otherwise it’s mission impossible. With the partnership Europe can give the Palestinians concrete assistance in preparing for the day that Palestine will be free and independent. To get to that point, European countries must, however, do a great deal more, recognising Palestine as a state and putting Israel under pressure to bring an end to the occupation at last.’

During the debate on the continuation of cooperation, Kox directed his remarks directly at the delegation of observers from the Israeli Knesset. 'If you say that you don’t want to forget your history,’ said Kox, ‘I say that you certainly must not do that. Because then you will know better than anyone that the occupation of a country and the oppression of a people is completely unacceptable. That’s why I say to Israel: let the Palestinian people go their own way, so that you can go yours, with two states living together peacefully. And that’s why I call on the Israeli MPs to devote themselves alongside us to bringing about the release of Palestinian Members of Parliament who are currently in Israeli prisons. If you say that you want to support democratic development in the Palestinian territories, then don’t stick their MPs in prison but let them do their work in their parliament.’

Never before were the assembled parliamentarians in Strasbourg so close to unanimous in their support for the Palestinians or their condemnation of Israel. A British Conservative noted that ‘if conservatives such as myself are in agreement with radical left colleagues and everyone between, then that must surely represent a clear sign for Israel that the occupation must truly end.’ Kox’s resolution won virtually unanimous support, with Senator Faber from the hard right Dutch PVV, a rare exception, voting against with no explanation. ‘That’s a real shame,’ said Kox, ‘certainly in view of the fact that even the Israeli MPs didn’t oppose cooperation between the Council of Europe and Palestine. But evidently the word Palestine alone is enough for the PVV to vote against.’

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