Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020 - 15 of Kislev, 5781

EU Foreign Ministers to ‘exchange views’ with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister

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The conversation in the framework of a video conference of EU Foreign Ministers will take place as Palestinian officials announced the resumption of cooperation with Israel.

European Union Foreign Ministers will have an “exchange of views’’ with Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Thursday in the framework of their video conference, the EU announced as the PA is set to resume its cooperation with Israel. 

Last May, EU Foreign Ministers met with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in Berlin, a senior EU official recalled.

The official said the EU wants to hear the Palestinian minister on the possibilities for Palestinian reconciliation, for convening elections, the perceptions of the Palestinian authorities after the US election and the need for the PA to engage again with Israel on basic issues of security and finance.

In the meantime, Palestinian officials announced Monday the PA’s resumption of ties with Israel.

In February,  PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that he would cut all ties with the United States and Israel, including those relating to security, after rejecting a Middle East peace plan presented by US President Donald Trump.

The PA also stopped accepting transfers of taxes, in particular customs duties, collected by Israel on its behalf.

“We will resume contacts with the Israelis on financial issues, on health issues, on political issues,” PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh confirmed  Tuesday.

The decision came after receipt of a letter indicating “that Israel is ready to commit itself to the signed agreements with us,” he said in a video conference hosted by the US-based Council on Foreign Relations.

“This is for us a very important step in the right direction,” he added, saying that the development followed intervention by the United Nations, the European Union and “other countries”.

According to reports, the EU has pressured the PA to resume cooperation with Israel, including the acceptance of tax levies that Israel collects on the PA’s behalf. Yemini adds: “The fact that there is no chance at all for a deal is precisely the reason that small steps like a resumption of security coordination are important.,” writes commentator Ben Dror Yemnini in Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.

What is the context ?

The Palestinian announcement came on the eve of the arrival in Israel of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

It also came ahead the Biden’s presidency. Palestinians have welcomed the US presidential election victory of Joe Biden;

U.S. Vice-President elect Kamala Harris has said that the Biden administration would ‘’take immediate steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance’’ to the Palestinians and reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem and the PLO office in Washington.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President-elect Joe Biden spoke for the first time since the U.S. election and agreed to meet soon, according to a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

‘’In a warm conversation, the President-elect reiterated his deep commitment to the State of Israel and its security,’’ the statement said.

Netanyahu said that ‘’the special bond between Israel and the US is a fundamental component of Israel’s security and its policy.’’

‘’The two agreed to meet soon in order to discuss the many issues on the agenda and reiterated the need to continue bolstering the steadfast alliance between the US and Israel,’’ the statement concluded.

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