Dr. Erakat Welcomes EU Council Conclusions on Middle East
Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erakat today welcomed the conclusions adopted by the Council of the European Union on the Middle East peace process, saying that hopes for Middle East peace rested on the international community playing a more robust role in upholding international law and protecting the integrity of existing agreements.
“The EU’s conclusions prioritize international law on issues such as Jerusalem, the illegality of Israeli settlements and Israel’s Wall, movement and access for Palestinians, and the unacceptable suffering caused by Israel’s ongoing siege over Gaza. Palestinians welcome this,” Dr Erakat said.
Dr Erakat in particular welcomed the EU’s reaffirmation of the terms of reference of the peace process, the June 4, 1967 border, the illegality of Israel’s attempts to unilaterally annex East Jerusalem as well as the construction of Israeli settlements and Israel’s Wall on occupied Palestinian land, its support for a resumption of negotiations on all permanent status issues without exception, and its condemnation of Israel’s siege over Gaza.
“More than ever, the international community needs to draw some clear red lines when it comes to international law and existing agreements, and to follow them up with concrete actions in support of a just peace. This is the only hope we have left of salvaging what prospects remain for the two-state solution.”
“The EU has an important role to play in helping to facilitate peace by holding Israel accountable for its daily violations of the basic rights and freedoms of Palestinians. Clear guidelines already exist for actions it can take towards this end, such as banning settlement products, discouraging EU nationals from investing in or financing settlement activities, or preventing settlers from entering the EU.”
“The EU remains a strong advocate of peace based on the two-state solution. Rewarding Israel while it continues to violate international law and to create facts on the ground that undermine the viability of the two-state solution, sends the wrong message. This includes moves by the EU to upgrade trade relations with Israel.”
“Hopes for peace are rapidly fading as illegal settlement construction continues to take what’s left of the West Bank, as Israel continues to forcibly annex East Jerusalem and attack its Palestinian residents, and as tensions continue to escalate as a result of the occupation.”
Dr Erakat said that the principles adopted by the Council, including its insistence for a full settlement freeze in line with Israel’s Road Map obligations, provide a blueprint for the resumption of meaningful negotiations.
“The EU has released a basic blueprint for the resumption of meaningful negotiations. If these principles are translated into reality, negotiations should resume,” Dr Erakat concluded.
Coordinator, International Relations
Fatah Foreign Relations