Tuesday, 25 Jun 2019 - 22 of Sivan, 5779

In meeting with Jared Kushner, EU’s Juncker calls on the U.S. to consider the ‘legitimate aspirations’ of both Israel and the Palestinians in a Middle East peace plan

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BRUSSELS –The European Union urged the United States to consider the “legitimate aspirations” of both Israel and the Palestinians in their Middle East peace plan.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker  met earlier this week at the Commission headquarters in Brussels with Jarrd Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also attended the meeting, called at Kushner’s request.

EU chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said the two listened to Kushner’s “ideas and underlined the fundamental interest of the European Union for a lasting and sustainable peace and stability to the region.”

“The economic development of the whole region is crucial. It must be accompanied by viable political solution that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinians and the Israelis and the agreed international parameters,” the statement said.

The US administration recently announced it will hold an “economic workshop” in the Gulf state of Bahrain on 25-26 June in order to convene government, civil society, and business leaders to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanise support for potential economic investments and initiatives for the region if an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement were to be reached.

Kushner has emphasised that his plan includes both political and economic proposals and that it would address final status issues between Israelis and Palestinians.

Last weekend Kushner said in an interview that the Palestinians deserve “self-determination,” but stopped short of proposing Palestinian statehood and expressed uncertainty over their ability to govern themselves. He said: “The hope is that they, over time, will become capable of governing.” He added that in order for the West Bank to become investible, the Palestinians: “Need to have a fair judicial system … freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions”.

In a leaked recording of a private briefing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed doubt that the plan would lead to an immediate breakthrough, admitting it might be rejected, and saying: “I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love.”

The U.S. Mideast plan is expected to avoid calling for the creation of a Palestinian state while the European Union has steadfastly reiterated its support for a ‘’two-state solution’’ with  Jerusalem as capital of both states — in contrast to Washington, which has recognised the city as Israel’s capital.

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