European Union flags.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A report Monday that France and Great Britain, in coordination with the US, were working on a new peace initiative to be rolled out after the elections was greeted with skepticism by both Israeli and European diplomats who said they were unaware of any concrete plans.
Uri Savir, chief Israeli negotiator of the Oslo accords and today the honorary president of the Peres Center for Peace, wrote about such a proposal on the al-Monitor website, citing a senior EU diplomat in Brussels as saying the new initiative will include “political, security and economic elements.”
According to the diplomat, Europe will no longer accept the status quo, and feels it is necessary to move the diplomatic process forward not only to ease the Palestinians plight, but also “in the context of the European anti-terror campaign.”
“The peace process ‘package’ that the Europeans have in mind attaches a timeline of two years for the negotiations [without the Palestinian demand of a deadline for the end of the occupation],” Savir wrote. “It also consists of a settlement freeze during the talks, security measures against terror in the demilitarized Palestinian state with a temporary Israeli presence and a monitoring role for third parties.”
Savir wrote that the issue of borders will be alluded to by a reference to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which called for borders along the pre-1967 lines with mutual land swaps and a shared capital in Jerusalem. The Saudi initiative also will be the reference point for the issue of Palestinian refugees, which it stipulated must be resolved in a “just and agreed upon way.”
Savir pointed out that, regarding the security issue, EU officials have considered proposing deployment of Egyptian forces in the West Bank and Gaza in coordination with both sides.
Also, according to Savir, there will be an economic component to the initiative that would mean “tremendous economic benefits for both countries, preferential trade and new opportunities for scientific and technological research and development in cooperation with European institutions.”
Those are the carrots. As far as the sticks are concerned, he cited a European source as saying that if the sides refuse to move forward, there would be additional punitive measures for Israeli settlement policies, including a more comprehensive boycott of settlement goods, and that there could be “donor fatigue” toward the Palestinians if they balked.
One diplomatic source in Jerusalem said he was unaware of any such plan making its way through the European bureaucracy and that Jerusalem was, at this point, carefully monitoring developments at the United Nations.
One European diplomat, meanwhile, said that while the plan was adequately reflective of the current mood in Europe at the moment, he was unaware of the ideas being concretized at this point into any specific plan.