European Union foreign ministers have made the argument this week that the creation and implementation of a statehood for Palestine could be the “only credible way to achieve peace in the Middle East,” according to reports.
European Union foreign ministers made the argument this Monday that the creation of a Palestinian state is the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East. The ministers made these statements to reporters in Brussels, where they were meeting to discuss the war in Gaza, according to reports from the Associated Press.
They also expressed their concerns over statements from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who gave a clear rejection of the idea of a Palestinian state. “The declarations of Benjamin Netanyahu are worrying. There will be a need for a Palestinian state with security guarantees for all,” said French Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Sejourne.
Both Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki were in attendance for these discussions as well. So far, the Palestinian death toll from the war between Israel and Hamas has exceeded 25,000, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.
The EU has been the world’s largest provider of aid to Palestine, and despite its large trading relationship with Israel, they have very little leverage over them. The 27 member nations of the EU also have mixed approaches to the current conflict, however, as the death toll continues to increase in Gaza, so have the calls for a ceasefire. Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, who’s nation holds the EU’s rotating presidency, spoke on these heightened discussions as well.
“Gaza is in a situation of extreme urgency. There is a risk of famine. There is a risk of epidemics. The violence must stop. We demand an immediate ceasefire, the release of the hostages, the respect of international law and a return to the peace process…”
Lahbib continued to discuss how a return to peaceful process “must lead to the creation of two states living in peace side by side. [A two-state solution] is the only way to establish peace in a durable way in the region.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu, however, has made his stance clear, rejecting a statehood for Palestine and only seeking open-ended military control over Gaza. The EU has invited foreign ministers from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and a representative from the Arab League to be involved in the discussions on Monday.
Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief who chaired the meeting, stated that the European ministers wanted to hear about Israel’s plans for the future, because as of right now it’s just constant war.
“Which are the other solutions they have in mind? To make all the Palestinians leave? To kill off them? [Israeli military actions] are seeding the hate for generations,” he said. Palestinian foreign minister Malki, echoed these sentiments as well.
“We have to call collectively for a cease-fire. We cannot accept anything less. [The EU needs] to start contemplating sanctions against Netanyahu and others who are really destroying the chances for a two state-solution and for peace in the Middle East.”
Spain has been pushing for a general peace conference to discuss what will happen after the war comes to an end, and while a future meeting in Brussels is in the works, there is no clear indication as to when the meeting will occur.
While some EU members support this idea, they also have emphasized that said meeting can’t occur without the support of Israel.
“If Israel is not (at) the table, there is no use to have peace conferences,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Xavier Bettel said, adding that he doesn’t think Israel will be ready for discussions as long as they’re fighting Hamas.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.