European Union causes peace process and Quartet meltdown

It is hard to conceive of any action more likely to undermine trust or prejudge final status issues than the Quartet’s failure to condemn the EU’s aberrant behavior.

By
February 16, 2015 14:55
3 minute read.
eu settlement

The blue EU logo seen on new modular structures in an illegal Beduin encampment in the Judean hills outside the Ma'alen Adumim settlement. . (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

 
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Revelations that the European Union has been acting illegally in funding and facilitating the construction of more than 400 unauthorized buildings in areas in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) under exclusive Israeli control – signals the end of:

•    Negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization under the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2003 Bush Roadmap and
•    The role of the Quartet - America, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union - as mediator in those negotiations

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The Daily Mail - in exposing the European Union's bizarre behavior - reported on 6 February that:

“Official EU documentation reveals that the building project is intended to ‘pave the way for development and more authority of the PA over Area C (the Israeli area)’, which some experts say is an attempt to unilaterally affect facts on the ground.

Locally, the villages are known as the ‘EU Settlements’, and can be found in 17 locations around the West Bank. They proudly fly the EU flag, and display hundreds of EU stickers and signs. Some also bear the logos of Oxfam and other NGOs, which have assisted in the projects.”

The European Union through its spokesman- Shadi Othman - attempted to justify such conduct as pre-empting the final outcome of the currently stalled negotiations:

”We support the Palestinian presence in Area C. Palestinian presence should not be limited to Areas A and B. Area C is part of the occupied Palestinian territory which eventually will be Palestinian land.”

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Why Israel's approval was not first sought remains unexplained.

Representatives of the Quartet – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov , US Secretary of State John Kerry, European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson (representing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon) - met in Munich on February 8 – two days after the European Union's illegal actions were exposed - but no mention  was made of the European Union’s devious conduct nor was there any call for it to be immediately halted.

The remaining three Quartet members have - by their silence - clearly signalled they condone such illegal conduct by the European Union and support its continuation.

Hypocritically - the Quartet Representatives – declared:

“Pending the resumption of negotiations, the Quartet called on both parties to refrain from actions that undermine trust or prejudge final status issues.”

It is hard to conceive of any action more likely to undermine trust or prejudge final status issues than the Quartet’s failure to condemn the European Union’s own aberrant behavior and call for an immediate halt to its illegal activities in the West Bank.

The Quartet Representatives repeated their mantra:

“A sustainable peace requires the Palestinians' aspirations for statehood and sovereignty and those of Israelis for security to be fulfilled through negotiations based on the two-state solution.”

The parameters under which those negotiations were being held between Israel and the PLO have now been well and truly consigned to the dustbin of history as a result of the European Union's disgraceful conduct – joining so many other failed proposals made since 1920 aimed at ending the Jewish-Arab conflict.

The Quartet has been found sadly wanting and is clearly out of tune in abandoning any sense of impartiality or propriety in aligning itself with one party to the dispute.

Israel's Prime Minister - Benjamin Netanyahu - has now directed that action be commenced to demolish these illegal European Union structures.

The Quartet, the peace process and its intricate negotiating structure have been totally compromised and irretrievably ended.

Back to the drawing board for a new proposal....

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International.

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