Group MEPs strike a pessimistic note on latest EU efforts to revive Peace Process
With a fresh initiative by France to revive the stalled peace process between Israel and Palestine, GUE/NGL MEPs took part in a debate on a report by the Middle East Quartet into the two-state solution in the European Parliament this afternoon.
Amidst a region engulfed in war and humanitarian chaos, Israel’s continuous settlement expansion has been singled out by the Quartet as being a major obstacle to peace.
Spanish MEP Ángela Vallina wasted no time in blaming the Jewish state for the status quo:
“Almost 50 years – that’s how long we’ve been looking for a solution to this conflict and the main obstacle is still the violation of international laws by Israel: violating UN resolutions and agreements. And of course, the apartheid that has been practised in the occupied territories and Gaza.”
“It seems to me that Israel and Palestine cannot negotiate on an equal footing under the present circumstances, and that’s why it is important to find the right solutions because we’ve been witnessing settlement expansion for 50 years!”
“The EU should not stand by and let these international law violations take place,” she concluded.
Greek MEP Sofia Sakorafa was equally damning of the current EU policies and said sanctions must be considered to punish Israel:
“Israel doesn’t even define its own borders; it simply moves them as it deems fit.”
“If we continue with our policies then so will Israel. The least we can do is to impose sanctions because of the way Israeli policies are currently going.”
Offering more hope is German MEP, Martina Michels, who cautiously welcomed the French intervention in this protracted conflict:
“Rightly, the French peace initiative may seem like a modest beginning but it’s a start.”
“They create negotiation opportunities by the EU and together they are building blocks towards stopping, for example, Israel's settlement policy or violence by young Palestinians.”
“The EU must provide generous support to peace efforts and get both sides back to the table,” Michels said.
Cypriot MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis urged the EU to uphold its promise and that action speaks louder than words:
“Statements and good intentions are not good enough. Israel must stop its blockade, settlements and displacement of the Palestinian population.”
“The recent report from the Quartet does not help in that direction because it treats both sides as equals. Israeli authorities and the settlers are clearly abusing the Palestinians and their land.”
“Settlement-building undermines the two-state solution. We must see an end to impunity and the international community has got to shoulder its responsibilities. The EU must deliver on its pledges,” he concluded.