EU must play a leading role in the Middle East Peace Process, say S&Ds
European Socialists and Democrats expressed their satisfaction with today’s resolution on the EU’s role in the Middle East Peace Process. The S&D Group emphasise that it is high time for the EU to play a leading political role in this process.
S&D MEP and vice-president for foreign affairs Victor Boştinaru said:
“We call for the resumption of credible peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians without delay. We support the ongoing efforts in the UN Security Council, but we call for a comprehensive European peace initiative should the stalemate in the peace process persist.
“We reiterate our strong support and commitment for the two-state solution, with the State of Israel within secure and recognised borders and an independent, sovereign, contiguous and viable Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security along the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as capital of both states. We welcome the personal commitment of High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and EU Special Representative Gentilini and strongly support their efforts in this direction.
“Preserving the viability of the two-state solution must be an immediate priority for the EU and the international community. We encourage Mrs Mogherini to make effective use of all existing EU instruments , including positive and negative incentives, which provide leverage on both. No EU funding can be used in a way that directly or indirectly contribute to Israeli settlement construction, which is illegal under international law, or to Israeli activities violating international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian Territory, while no EU funding to Palestinians can be directly or indirectly diverted to terrorist organisations or activities.
“Arab citizens of Israel have a huge potential to play an important role in the peace process, with the Joint Arab List as an important actor in the Knesset. The diplomatic outline recently presented by Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Hilik Bar should also be noticed as an important contribution to peace efforts.
“We reiterate our call for Palestinian unity, which is an essential part of the peace process, and we regret the recent setbacks in this field. We call for an immediate end to the blockade and for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Gaza, but also for the Palestinian Authority to assume its government function in this area. The firing of rockets from Gaza into Israeli territory must immediately stop.
“The growing violence in the whole region generates new security challenges for Israel and further increase the suffering of Palestinians, but it also creates shared interests between the Arab states and Israel. The nuclear deal with Iran offers a unique momentum for the peace process, which should not be missed. Any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved in a regional context, with the involvement of all relevant regional stakeholders.”
S&D Group foreign affairs co-ordinator and chair of parliament’s Middle East Working Group, Richard Howitt added:
“There will always be those who will say nothing will change in the Middle East. But this is a resolution which our Group took responsibility to negotiate with all the other parliamentary groups, saying Europe can play a role to make progress for peace, for justice, for statehood.
“We place particular emphasis on the engagement of Arab countries with the Quartet to advance the Arab Peace Plan, on sending a clear signal that the new Israeli Government must pay more than lip service to the ‘two-state solution’ and to explore greater European pressure towards reconciliation on the Palestinian side.
“The alternative is to risk a further spiral of violence. There must be no third intifada.”
Foto: Al Jazeera/Reuters