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Council of Europe

Volume 691: debated on Thursday 19 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the constitution of the Council of Europe would permit the offer of membership of the council to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.[HL3059]

In accordance with Article 4 of the Statute of the Council of Europe, any European state which is deemed able and willing to fulfil the provisions of Article 3 of the statute may be invited to become a member of the Council of Europe by the Committee of Ministers following consultation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Article 3 provides that:

“Every member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of the rule of law and of the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and collaborate sincerely and effectively in the realisation of the aim of the Council as specified in Chapter one”.

While there is no officially recognised definition on the geographical limits of Europe, no existing definitions include Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories within its boundaries. As such, under Article 4, neither would be eligible for full membership.