Saturday, 29 Feb 2020 - 4 of Adar, 5780

The European Parliament divided over the U.S. peace plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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During the debate, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said that the plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, announced by US President Donald Trump on January 29, ‘’clearly challenges the internationally agreed parameters” of a peaceful resolution to the conflict. “It’s difficult to see how it can bring both sides to the table,’’ he added.

Members of the European Parliament were rather divided on the U.S. Middle East peace plan, during a debate on Tuesday at the plenary session in Strasbourg.

While some members called the plan ‘’unacceptable’’ and ‘’biased towards Israel,’’ others  believe it can be a basis for peace negotiations.

During the debate, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said that the plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, announced by US President Donald Trump on January 29, ‘’clearly challenges the internationally agreed parameters” of a peaceful resolution to the conflict. “It’s difficult to see how it can bring both sides to the table,’’ he added.

He said most EU member states did not even consider the plan “a good starting point.”

But it was reported that at least six European member states last week opposed a push by Borrell for a joint statement by the 27 EU members states of the E.U. Foreign Affairs Council criticizing the Trump peace plan and warning Israel against annexing parts of the West Bank.

Italy, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and at least two other unnamed nations opposed the text of the statement following intense lobbying efforts by Israel’s foreign ministry, Israeli media reported.

Borrell issued his own statement in which he underlined the EU’s commitment to a two-state solution, based along the 1967 lines, with the possibility of mutually agreed land-swaps, made up of the state of Israel and “an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable state of Palestine.”

“To build a just and lasting peace, the unresolved final status issues must be decided through direct negotiations between both parties,” Borrell said. “This includes notably the issues related to borders, the status of Jerusalem, security and the refugee question,”

“We are especially concerned by statements on the prospect of annexation of the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank,” Borrell said.

He suggested that the EU might consider legal action by saying that any “steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged.”

The Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat said it was “regrettable” that Borrell was using “threatening language” toward the country so soon after taking up his post and so shortly after meeting with leaders in Iran.

“Pursuing such policies & conduct is the best way to ensure that the EU’s role in any process will be minimized,” Haiat said in a tweet.

EU Foreign Ministers are expected to discuss the topic at meeting in Brussels next Monday. U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo was invited to join the discussion.

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