The bloc seeks the resumption of a “political process that can lead to a two-state solution”, says the EU’s foreign policy chief.
The European Union and Israel have held high-level talks for the first time in 10 years, and the bloc wants to press Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on how to implement a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Monday’s “Association Council” meeting that he was “encouraged” by recent support for such an outcome by Lapid, who took part in the talks by videoconference.
“This is also what we want to promote. We want the resumption of a political process that can lead to a two-state solution and comprehensive regional peace,” Borrell said. “We have to explore how we can put this into practice.”
Monday’s meeting marked the first of its kind between the two sides since July 2012. But while talks have resumed, prospects for peace appear dim.
Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank is now in its 55th year. The last real peace talks ended in 2009, and critics say growing Israeli settlements in the West Bank and elsewhere undermine any hope of a two-state solution.
Borrell warned that the EU was “concerned about the continued tensions and violence on the ground and the continuation of unilateral measures, such as the expansion of settlements and security problems”.
“This year is the year in which there has been the highest number of Palestinian deaths since 2007, and forced transfers continue,” he added.
The Palestinians seek all of the occupied West Bank along with Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Palestinian group Hamas, for a future state.
At the UN General Assembly last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that “our confidence in achieving peace based on justice and international law is fading due to Israeli occupation policies.”
He accused Israel of continuing a “frantic campaign to confiscate our land” and said the country’s army was “killing the Palestinian people in broad daylight” with impunity.
Abbas’s speech came a day after Lapid himself addressed the UN General Assembly, telling the meeting that he supported a two-state solution and calling on Muslim nations to recognize and make peace with Israel.
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