Sunday, 20 Jun 2021 - 10 of Tammuz, 5781

Hungary sole EU member state to refuse to sign up to EU statement on the Israel-Hamas conflict

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Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto slammed what he called the EU’s “one-sided” statements.

26 out of 27 EU member states supported an EU statement on the Israel-Hamas conflict, at an extraordinary  video conference of the EU Foreign Ministers organized on Tuesday to discuss the worst upsurge of violence since 2014.

Hungary was the sole country to refuse to sign up to the statement, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell told a press conference following the meeting.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto slammed what he called the EU’s “one-sided” statements.

“I have a general problem with these European statements on Israel. These are usually very much one-sided, and these statements do not help, especially not under current circumstances, when the tension is so high,” Szijjarto told Agence France Presse.

The EU statement puts as a priority a call for an immediate cessation of all hostilities and for the implementation of a ceasefire ”in order to protect civilians, and give full humanitarian access in Gaza.” It calls the high number of deaths and wounded, including children and women, ‘’unacceptable,’’ condemns the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups on the Israeli territort Israel and ”fully supports Israel’s right to self-defence ‘’in a proportional manner and in respecting international humanitarian law.’’

Borrell said some foreign ministers have expressed individual ”nuances” during the discussion but that the text reflects the ”overall sense of the discussion.” ”It is a short text that cannot take into account all the discussion,” he added.

Summarizing the overall sense of discussion, Borrell also said ”the status quo of the Holy sites must be fully respected, and the right to worship upheld.”

He also said that ”it is important not to proceed with evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, in line with the EU position on settlements.”

Other points include, according to Borrell’s takeways of the discussion, include :

  • Real security for Israel and Palestine requires ”a true political solution” that will bring peace. ”In order to do so, we need to restore a political horizon, explore space for re-engagement between the parties, develop confidence-building measures, improve the people’s living conditions, and open the path towards the potential relaunching of the peace process.”
  • the holding of Palestinian elections must be considered a priority.
  • the EU will renew its engagement with key partners like the new US administration, and a revived Middle East Quartet. On Monday, Borrell exchanged views with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
  • the EU new Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, Dutch Sven Koopmans, will travel to the region to engage with the Quartet, other partners and the parties themselves

During a debate in the European Parliament on the same day, MEP Charlie Weimers, of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) political group declared: ”Would you tolerate thousands of rockets targeting your homes? Would you accept an internationally recognized terror organization attacking your democratic country? If your answer is NO – then you are no better, nor worse, than Israel. You’re normal.”

Another MEP, Frederique Ries, Liberal from Belgium,  “invited the Israeli government to take its share of responsibility”, while accusing Hamas of having “murdered peace”.She also denounced “violently anti-Semitic chants heard on Sunday in Brussels during the demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinians, one kilometre from the European Parliament.”

MEP Marie Arena, a Belgian Socialist, called for “an end to the violence between Hamas and Israel but ”also to the creeping violence of the occupation”.




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