Netanyahu's new government must affirm 2-state support -EU Parliament

European Union parliamentarians affirmed that they gave their "unwavering support for a negotiated two-state solution on the basis of the 1967-lines."

 Flags of European Union and Ukraine flutter outside EU Parliament building, in Brussels, Belgium, February 28, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)
Flags of European Union and Ukraine flutter outside EU Parliament building, in Brussels, Belgium, February 28, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)

The incoming Israeli government must affirm its support for a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the European Union Parliament said in a wide-ranging resolution it approved in Strasbourg on Wednesday that called for a European to lead the peace process.

The resolution asked, “the next Israeli government to make a clear commitment in favor of the two-state solution.”

"The next Israeli government should make a clear commitment in favor of the two-state solution."

European Union parliament

European Union parliamentarians affirmed that they gave their “unwavering support for a negotiated two-state solution on the basis of the 1967-lines.”

This includes, the resolution stated, “two sovereign democratic states living side by side in peace and guaranteed security, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states and in full respect of international law.”

This is the first time since 2017 that the European Parliament has approved such a text, which had a mix of positive and negative elements for Israel.

The resolution called for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, after a nearly nine-year freeze, through a European-led initiative, beginning with an international conference.

To this end, it said, EU-Israel ties should be strengthened. As such, the Parliament welcomed the resumption this year of EU-Israel Association Council meetings that had been frozen for the last decade.

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The United States, which had been the primary broker of past peace processes, has not put forward any peace initiatives since US President Joe Biden entered office in 2021.

EU member states were asked in the resolution to galvanize relevant regional Arab countries to explore how normalization with Israel could assist a two-state process and improve the region’s economy.

MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, who opposed the text, said: “It is not for the EU to dictate to Israel and the Palestinians the outcome of their necessary peace negotiations. The outcome does not necessarily have to be a two-state solution. Instead, the EU should focus on fostering an environment where space for conversation is once again created.”

MEP Billy Kelleher of the Renew Europe Group tweeted in support of the resolution stating, "Two-State Solution for Palestine [and] Israel." He added "the illegal invasions of Palestine must end" and that "Israel must not be attacked by terrorists."

The resolution called for accountability for those who have violated international humanitarian law and expressed its support for the involvement of the International Criminal Court in the conflict.

It upheld the need for policies that differentiated trade with Israeli entities inside the pre-1967 lines and those situated over the Green Line.

Settlement activity and the Israeli demolition of Palestinian structures must end, the resolution stated, adding that Palestinian elections must be held, including in east Jerusalem.

The resolution also called for an end to both Palestinian terrorist attacks and disproportionate IDF use of force, and it condemned settler violence.

The Parliament in the resolution recognized Israel’s right to exist, its legitimate security concerns and its full right to fight against acts of violence and to protect its citizens.

A few parliamentarians were able to secure a number of key amendments to the text.

Due to the work of the Group of the European People’s Party, the resolution in support of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees called for the suspension of EU funding to that body if there was clear and substantiated evidence of hatred, incitement and antisemitism in the textbooks used in its schools.

ECR Vice President MEP Charlie Weimers said: “The adopted resolution is an embarrassment for the European Parliament and the EU, but much worse has been prevented with the amendments proposed by my colleagues and I on behalf of the ECR Group. If it would not have been for the ECR amendments, the resolution would have contained more criticism on Israel, a democratic partner country rather than Hamas, an EU-listed terror organization.”

The ECR group put forward language in the text condemning indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel. It also proposed language that referred to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine as EU-listed terrorist organizations rather than armed Palestinian groups.

Other amendments it pushed included language expressing “grave concern” over people “affiliated with EU-listed terrorist organizations running or seeking to run for Palestinian political office.”

There was a call added to the text for terrorist groups in Gaza to disarm and for the EU or work to prevent the rearming of those groups in both Gaza and the West Bank.

Due to the ECR, the resolution also called for Hamas to release the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul and to free the two Israeli captives it is holding, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.

The resolution had been in the works for a year, but came forward for a vote, as Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is forming a coalition that does not support a two-state resolution to the conflict.

Yair Lapid affirmed Israel's support for a two-state resolution

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid affirmed Israel’s support for a two-state resolution to the conflict when he addressed the opening session of the 77th UN General Assembly in September.

Although his vision of two states was not based on the pre-1967 lines, the statement itself was enough to help reduce diplomatic tension between Israel and the EU with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu in 2009 affirmed his support for a two-state resolution to the conflict, also not based on the pre-1967 lines and with the understanding that the future Palestinian state in question would be a demilitarized one. He also threw his support behind former US president Donald Trump’s two-state plan.

Netanyahu’s reelection campaign and the coalition partners he has chosen have called that support into question.•