17 June 2019   13. Shawwal 1440
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Monday, 15 April 2019 14:56

“Europe must stand by the two-state solution”

High-ranking former European politicians have condemned the Trump administration’s one-sided Israel-Palestine policy and called in a letter for Europe to reject any US Middle East peace plan unless it is fair to Palestinians.

The letter, sent to the Guardian, the EU and European governments, was signed by 25 former foreign ministers, six former prime ministers, and two former NATO secretary generals.

“It is time for Europe to stand by our principled parameters for peace in Israel-Palestine,” read the letter, calling for a two-state solution in which Israel and Palestinian states live side by side.

Europe, it said, should reject any plan that does not create a Palestinian state alongside Israel with Jerusalem as the capital for both countries.

“Unfortunately, the current US administration has departed from longstanding US policy,” it said, criticising Donald Trump’s 2017 recognition of “only one side’s claims to Jerusalem”.

Washington had also “demonstrated a disturbing indifference to Israeli settlement expansion” in the occupied West Bank and cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Palestinians, a move the letter said was “gambling with the security and stability of various countries located at Europe’s doorstep”.

Since taking office, and amid praise from Israel’s government, Trump has taken measures seen as both punishing to Palestinians and which also stifle the viability of a Palestinian state.

The US president has promised to unveil a still-secret “ultimate deal” for Israelis and Palestinians, although the Palestinian leadership pre-emptively rejected it as biased, and Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, categorically ruled out a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu won the Israeli election and is expected to secure a fifth term in office by forging a coalition government from right-wing and pro-settler parties.

A few days before the Israeli polls, Benjamin Netanyahu said that, if he won, he planned to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank, a move Palestinians see as the end of their hopes for a state as there would be no unbroken land on which to build it.

The letter by former European officials said Europe must “be vigilant and act strategically” when Trump presented the new plan. It was sent on Sunday to Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, and serving European foreign ministers.

Its signatories included Jean Marc Ayrault, Carl Bildt, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Massimo D’Alema, Guy Verhofstadt, and Dacian Cioloș, former prime ministers of France, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Belgium and Romania respectively.

Former Nato secretary generals Willy Claes and Javier Solana, and the former Irish president Mary Robinson also signed. Two former UK foreign secretaries, David Miliband and Jack Straw, also added their names.

“[We] are convinced that a plan that reduces Palestinian statehood to an entity devoid of sovereignty, territorial contiguity and economic viability would severely compound the failure of previous peace-making efforts, accelerate the demise of the two-state option and fatally damage the cause of a durable peace for Palestinians and Israelis alike,” it said.

If that was not possible, the letter said, “Europe must pursue its own course of action”.

Darul Ihsan Media Desk

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