EU must do more to promote peace in the Middle East
Speaking during a debate on the EU's role in the Middle East peace process in the European Parliament this afternoon, GUE/NGL MEPs called on the EU to take a more dominant role and to put a stop to the sales of arms to Israel.
Irish GUE/NGL MEP Martina Anderson, who is chair of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Palestine, said: “We in the GUE/NGL wanted a stronger-worded resolution than the one we will be voting on tomorrow. For example, we wanted to demand an end to the occupation of Palestine and the release of political prisoners, particularly PLC members.
“However, one thing where I think we are all agreed is that the EU should be a dominant political player in the Middle East peace process and advance meaningful initiatives for a comprehensive solution. We also believe Palestine should be placed under international protection.
She concluded saying: “We were informed last week that a peace process is virtually off Israel's foreign policy agenda; this is unacceptable and we must challenge it.”
Cypriot MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis also contributed to the debate saying: “We have to sort this out now if we really want a lasting peace. The European Union must support the idea of an independent and viable Palestinian state with the '67 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Union's external policy must promote peace in the region.
Portuguese MEP Marisa Matias, added: “A UN report released this month said that Gaza may be uninhabitable in 5 years, so much has been destroyed. Incomes are at their lowest since 1977, there is an economic destruction.
She continued: “Also sales of arms to Israel continue to rise. It is no use talking about peace while weapons continue to be sold to Israel.”
Javier Couso (Spain) took up the same issue in his contribution: “International law is being flouted and there is a lot the EU could do, we are a major partner of Israel, we should be able to subject the association treaty to article II and prevent the export of arms and suspend cooperation in terms of defence.”
Czech MEP Miloslav Ransdorf added: “50 million dollars are being spent on arms in this region yet we are on the verge of a water catastrophe. Then there is the refugee problem. Something needs to change to in order for the two parties, currently at loggerheads, to progress.”
Sofia Sakorafa (Greece) concluded: “A year after the last massacre in the Gaza Strip we are still just talking about peace negotiations. They are not taking place, the two-state solution is still far away and the EU is doing very little.
“Five million Palestinians are in refugee camps and there is an apartheid regime in place. Our role should be to make the state of Israel accept the decisions of international organisations. As long as we do not hold Israel accountable all our actions focused on this area will be a waste of time.”
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20