Official EU paper urges Israel, PA to restart talks

In its report, the EU calls on Israel to ensure respect for international law and human rights in the "occupied" territories.

March 25, 2015 15:46
2 minute read.
European High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini

European High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini holds a news conference during an EU summit in Brussels. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The European Union urged Israelis and Palestinians on Wednesday to quickly restart the diplomatic negotiations, even as the annual report from EU consuls-general in Jerusalem was again leaked out and once again included a series of recommendations designed to limit Israel’s sovereignty in its capital.

In a series of annual reports assessing progress on democracy and human rights in countries in its European Neighborhood Policy, the EU called on Israel to make “every effort to ensure an early resumption of the Middle East peace process,” to “ensure respect for the principles of international law and human rights in the occupied territories,” and to continue and increase “it’s efforts to ensure the equality of all Israeli citizens.”

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The report on the PA urged it to pursue “positive steps” to restart the peace process. It also called upon the PA to resume full governmental responsibility in Gaza and to organize free presidential and legislative elections.

Meanwhile, in what has become an annual occurrence, details of the report from the EU consuls in Jerusalem were leaked to the press, with The Guardian reporting on some of the recommendations on Friday, and Ynet getting hold of the document and publishing it on Wednesday.

Diplomatic officials stressed that this is an exercise that repeats itself year after year, and that the report is only a series of recommendations to the EU, not actual EU policy. That similar recommendations have been published year after year indicates that the EU policy makers have not yet been willing to adopt the far-reaching steps.

Among the recommendations aimed at “maintaining the viability of a two-state solution” are pressing for the reopening of PA institutions in Jerusalem; promoting a strengthened role for the PLO’s “governor of east Jerusalem;” ensuring that EU consumers can make “informed choices” regarding settlement products through labeling; restricting travel to EU countries by known “violent settlers” or those advocating violence; ensuring an EU presence on a case-by-case basis at home demolitions or eviction, particularly in E1; and refraining from meeting Israeli officials in their east Jerusalem offices.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor blasted the unofficial report, and said that like so many other EU documents, its information is provided largely by left-wing NGOs funded by the EU itself, creating an “echo chamber” effect.

“The EU’s exclusive and non-transparent dependency on a very narrow and selected group of political advocacy NGOs results in ill-informed and counter-productive policies, discredits EU policy making, and calls into question European officials interactions with radical NGOs,” NGO Monitor said in a statement.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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