The Jordan Valley, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, has the potential to be the breadbasket of any future Palestinian state. However, the persistent expansion of Israeli settlements and other restrictions on Palestinian development have made life extremely difficult for Palestinian communities.
New plans to increase the land, water, and infrastructure available to Israeli settlements will further aggravate this already serious situation. Unless the international community takes action to reverse Israeli government policies and practices, the prospects for the future establishment of a viable Palestinian state, living side by side with Israel in peace and security, look dangerously remote.
As Israel’s largest trading partner and the biggest donor to the Palestinians, the European Union should:
- Move beyond statements and take urgent action to press the Government of Israel to end the construction of settlements and comply with its responsibilities under international law, in line with the 2004 Advisory Opinion given by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal consequences of the construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which the EU has endorsed.
- Take immediate steps to ensure the implementation of the May 2012 EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions and the recommendations of the recent EU Heads of Diplomatic Mission reports on Area C and East Jerusalem.
- Press for conditions that will allow for the full implementation of the EU–Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Association Agreement, which provides real opportunities for Palestinian produce to access European markets, including urgently pushing for an end to Israeli restrictions on the movement and transport of goods.
- In the absence of an Israeli planning regime which seeks to alleviate poverty amongst the Palestinian population, initiate and support development projects in the Jordan Valley and other parts of Area C, including building new schools, community centers, clinics, municipal buildings, roads, irrigation, and other infrastructure projects.