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Israeli PM Lapid addresses EU-Israel Association Council: ‘Israel wants peace that will lead to security, not peace that will destabilize the Middle East’

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In his address, Lapid also spoke about his opposition to the revival of the JCPOA, the nuclear deal with Iran, which is a topic of disagreement with the European Union. He highlighted the change that is happening in the Middle East with the Abraham Accords and Negev Forum. ‘’The EU can and should be part of this,’’ he said.

In his initial remarks, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borll told Lapid: ‘’We are very encouraged by the clear support fort he two-state solution that you stated in your speech to the United Nations General Assembly. We are however also concerned about the continued tension and violence on the ground and continuation of unilateral measures such as settlement expansion and the security issues.’’

In remarks to the press upon his arrival at the EU Council building, Borrell stated: ”You cannot say that you have got peace because you have got peace with the Arab states. You also have to have peace with the Palestinians. This is very important for the European Union.”  ”The two peace processes are necessary,” he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid reaffirmed his suppoirt for a two-state solution for the conflict with the Palestinians, as he adsdress by visioconference the first meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council in over a decade.

‘’In my speech to the United Nations General Assembly, I expressed once more my commitment tot he 2-state solution. But the Palestinians need to put and end to terrorism and incitement. Israel wants peace that will lead to security, not peace that will destabilize the Middle East,’’ Lapid said.

‘’Over the past year, there has been also a positive change in our work with the Palestinian Authority. We are working with them and helping their economy to develop,’’ he added.

In his address, Lapid also spoke about his opposition to the revival of the JCPOA, the nuclear deal with Iran, which is a topic of disagreement with the European Union.

‘’Even though we disagree on the JCPOA, we all agree that everything must be done to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state,’’ Lapid stressed. ‘’We are all united in our desire to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,’’ he added as he mentioned that the Iranian regime ‘’is murdering its citizens as we speak.’’

The Israeli premier also highlighted the change that is happening in the Middle East with the Abraham Accords and Negev Forum. ‘’The EU can and should be part of this,’’ he said, explaining that through the Negev Forum, Israel and its Arab partners  signed an agreement and established working groups on technology, food security, water, education and infrastructure.

Lapid also mentioned the fact that “antisemitism is on the rise again in Europe.’’’’ We welcome the EU’s strategy to combat it and now has to put that plan in action.’’

In his initial remarks, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell noted that the EU-Association Council ‘’is the best way of frankly engaging on many issues which are of mutual concern, and in particular on the Middle East Peace Process and on the stability of the wider Middle East region.’’

Israeli Prlme Minister Yair Lapid addressed the EU-Israel Association Council by visioconference.Picture by Kobi Gideon, GPO.

He told Lapid: ‘’We are very encouraged by the clear support fort he two-state solution that you stated in your speech to the United Nations General Assembly. We are however also concerned about the continued tension and violence on the ground and continuation of unilateral measures such as settlement expansion and the security issues.’’

He said that this year ‘’is the year in which there has been the highest number of Palestinian deaths since 2007.’’ ‘’This is something that we have to talk and the best way to look at solutions is to have this frank and opendiscussions among us.’’

He also said the EU-Israel Association Council would also discuss the normalization of Israel’s relations wit its Arab neighbors. ‘’We believe that this can  make a major contribution to enhancing regional stability and have a positive impact on the prospect  for resuming the Middle East Peace Process,’’ Borell said.

In remarks to the press upon his arrival at the EU Council building, Borrell emphasized that ”you cannot say that you have got peace because you have got peace with the Arab states. You also have to have peace with the Palestinians. This is very important for the European Union.”  ”The two peace processes are necessary,” he added.

The Israeli Prime Minister apologized that he could not be in person at the Brussels meeting. ‘’Nobody wanted to be there more than me. But we are less than one month away from elections in Israel and given the complex security situation here at home I choose to join you virtually,’’ he said. The Israeli delegation at the EU-Israel Association Council was led by Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern.

The Council is the highest forum steering Israel-EU relations and deals with the full range of these ties, including in science, the economy, energy and the environment.

The 27 EU Foreign Ministers agreed last July to hold the EU-Israel Association Council which has not convened since 2012 due to disagreements on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Israel signed an Association Agreement that defined its relationship with the EU in 1995 and ratified it in 2000.

 

Video from Roi Avraham (GPO) / Sound from Ben Peretz (GPO)

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