In light of mounting tensions between the Palestinians and Israel over the past few months, the European Union released a statement underlying its expectations and desires for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to reach a final agreement with one another.
“The EU is convinced that only the reestablishment of a political horizon and the resumption of dialogue can stop the violence,” the statement read. “Security measures alone cannot stop the cycle of violence. The underlying causes of the conflict need to be addressed.”
In hoping to achieve its vision of a two-state solution, the EU stated that it will continue to ensure the viability of its two-state vision for both Israel and the PA.
“The EU will continue to closely monitor developments on the ground and their broader implications and will consider further action in order to protect the viability of the two-state solution, which is constantly eroded by new facts on the ground,” the EU stated.
Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria has very frequently been described and viewed in EU circles to be changing the facts on the ground, and the EU listed a number of expectations of Israel regarding Jewish-Israeli construction in the Judea and Samaria regions that were captured by Israel in 1967.
“The EU reiterates its strong opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, demolitions and confiscation, including of EU funded projects, evictions, forced transfers including of Bedouins, illegal outposts and restrictions of movement and access,” the EU said.
The demolitions and confiscation of EU funded projects refer to instances where Israel has removed illegal Palestinian structures in Judea and Samaria that were financed by the EU. Most recently, the EU was discovered to have built an illegal road for Palestinians in the Judea region.
Additionally, the EU emphasized its opposition to Jewish-Israeli construction in “East Jerusalem” specifically, which refers to such construction in all parts of Jerusalem captured by Israel during the Six-Day-War in 1967 including all of Jerusalem’s Old City.
“Settlement activity in East Jerusalem seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both States,” the EU stressed.
The EU also condemned Palestinian violence against Israel in its statement, though it did not directly refer to any Palestinian terrorist group including Hamas, which currently controls the Gaza Strip.
“Recent rocket fire by militant groups is unacceptable and underlines again the danger of escalation,” the EU stated. “All stakeholders must commit to non-violence and peace.”
The EU also said that “Palestinian sides” and Palestinian “stakeholders” such as Hamas, should use resources and aid provided by the international community for public needs such as health, energy and water instead of for terrorist activity. “The EU urges the Palestinian sides to make the reconstruction of Gaza an overarching national priority especially as regards to health, energy and access to water,” the EU said.
Furthermore, the EU expects Israel to allow “dual-use items,” which are goods that can be used for both civilian and military purposes, to enter into Gaza. “The EU welcomes the steps that Israel has taken to ease some restrictions on Gaza,” the EU noted in its statement. “However the lifting of restriction on movement of people, services and goods, particularly those designated as ‘dual-use items’, is needed to allow reconstruction efforts and basic service delivery.”
“Non-state actors” such as the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups must allow humanitarian access into Gaza, indicated the EU statement. “The EU calls all parties, state and non-state actors to guarantee unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza, as foreseen by international humanitarian law, for national, local and international humanitarian organizations, including EU bodies and Member States.”
Additionally, the EU believes that the PA, which was crushed in a coup launched by Hamas in Gaza during 2007, must control Gaza in order to bring about a Palestinian state. “The Palestinian Authority must fully resume its governmental functions in Gaza, as it is an integral part of a future Palestinian state,” the EU argued in its statement.
The EU’s statement of guidelines for both Israel and the PA follows its recent announcement that all future agreements with Israel would only apply to Israeli territory before 1967.