Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a key issue in achieving regional peace and global stability, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Tuesday.
He was delivering a speech at Haifa University, where he received an honorary doctorate in recognition of his work to combat anti-Semitism and his dedication to resolving the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
According to Barroso, the only viable solution is a negotiated two-state solution, with a secure and recognized state of Israel and a democratic and viable state of Palestine.
“Here at the University of Haifa, you must have the right to study and teach without being threatened by the risk of deadly rocket strikes or terrorist attacks,” he said. “And Palestinians have the right to establish their own independent and democratic state on their side of the 1967 borders.”
Barroso said he feared that continued Israeli settlement jeopardized the twostate solution.
The EU, he added, stood ready to help both sides achieve a negotiated final-status agreement.
“The European Union will be your steadfast partner in this endeavor and will assist you in lighting the candle of peace that will shine for many,” he said.
Moving on to regional issues, he harshly condemned Syrian President Bashar Assad’s violent actions against his own citizens. A regime that kills its own people has no place in the community of nations, he said, and called on the UN Security Council to stop the bloodshed.
With respect to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, he said he supported strict sanctions unless a negotiated solution could be found.
But the bulk of his speech focused more on the importance of education and democracy, as well as the strong ties between Europe and Israel.
“Europe and Israel must both continue as strong democracies, staunchly committed to a vibrant civil society, respect for human rights and rights of people belonging to minorities,” he said.
He was speaking at the end of a three day visit in which he met with top leaders in Israel and the Palestinian Authority.