Ex-European leaders urge EU action against Israeli violation

European Eminent Persons’ letter seeks two-state solution under EU lead

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The European Eminent Persons group sent a letter to European Union policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday saying Israel has not taken responsibility in pursuing a two-state solution with Palestine and the EU should lead the process as the United States has not dealt with it well.

The group, which includes former prime ministers and diplomats such as the foreign ministers of France, the Netherlands and Iceland as well as the former NATO secretary general, sent the letter after the Israeli government failed to stop the building of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The EU diplomats questioned the continuity and possible success of the two-state solution process between the Israeli and Palestinian governments while it is led by the US.

Another reason stated for the letter was the belief that political and economic aid from the EU does not help the Palestinian government but helps Israeli government to continue its occupation.

“We maintain our view that the current financial and political assistance given by Europe and America to the Palestinian Authority achieves little more than the preservation of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and imprisonment of Gaza,”  the leaders said in the letter.

“The Palestinian Authority’s tenuous grip on the West Bank population’s allegiance has required strong security and other dependence on Israel, funded primarily by Europe and the US. Gaza has shamefully been left to one side.”

According to the letter, the treatment of the Palestinians is an example of international injustice, violation of human rights is one of “the world’s worst crises.”

The letter urges the EU to confront Israel, saying “the re-election of Binyamin Netanyahu as Israeli prime minister and the construction of a new Israeli coalition government now requires urgent action by the EU to construct a coherent and effective policy on the question of Palestine.”

“Mr Netanyahu expressed various views on Palestine in and around the recent election campaign, most of them cold to the concept of an independent Palestinian state,” said the leaders.

“We are convinced in our own minds that he has little intention of negotiating seriously for a two-state solution within the term of this incoming Israeli government.”

The group is also not satisfied the participation of the US and its ability to lead the process.

“We also have low confidence that the US government will be in a position to take a lead on fresh negotiations with the vigour and the impartiality that a two-state outcome demands,” the letter continued.

“Hiding behind American leadership on the politics of the dispute is unedifying and unproductive.”

Palestinians are seeking statehood for the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as the proposed capital.

According to the Palestinian Authority, around 135 countries have recognised the state of Palestine including several that are now EU members.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in April last year when the West Bank’s Fatah and Gaza’s Hamas authorities declared a unity government in response to continued illegal settlement building by Israel in occupied areas.

A bloody onslaught on Gaza erupted just a few months later, resulting in the deaths of around 2,200 Palestinians, at least 66 percent of whom were civilians. Meanwhile, 72 Israelis were also killed, mainly soldiers.

TRTWorld and agencies