“The international community does not and cannot give up on peace in the Middle East,” EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said during the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for Palestine at the UN.
As Europeans, we share the desire of millions of Israelis and Palestinians for peace and their frustration also over the many failed attempts to get there, Mogherini said.
The risk is that “not only people do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but that they do not even see the tunnel anymore,” Mogherini said paraphrasing late President Peres.
That is why the European Union remains firmly committed to build a Palestinian state and to make sure that none of the partners loses hope of reaching a two-State solution.
“We are clearly facing a sort of proliferation of crises where the risk is that the oldest one gets a bit less of attention than others; and this is something that we cannot afford,” Mogherini said.
For this reason, Mogherini welcomed the renewed commitment of the White House to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians and to work in the Quartet together with the United Nations and the Russian Federation.
The High Representative also pointed to the Arab Peace Initiative as a strong point of reference for the work ahead, together with the regular dialogue carried out over the last years with regional partners, in particular with Jordan, with Egypt, with the countries in the Gulf, with the Arab League, to find a way to accompany the parties.
The EU itself two weeks ago launched a review of how to best engage on the ground in order to ensure that all partners remain committed to a viable solution.
Security and peace in the Mediterranean means also security and peace for Europe and for its part, the EU Foreign Ministers are all united in supporting a two-State solution - the realistic, not the ideological solution, Mogherini said.
The EU is the largest donor for both the Palestinian Authority and for humanitarian aid in Gaza, “whose people have suffered the most from the conflict in recent years” the High Representative said.
A decade of Hamas rule, repeated rounds of violence, the impact of the Israeli closure and the worsening Palestinian political divide, including the latest measures by the Palestinian Authority, have all taken their toll, Mogherini said. “But let there be no mistake: the situation in Gaza is not a natural disaster we are facing. It is a man-made disaster, the result of politics, or rather the lack of good politics."
“It is high time to end the Israeli closure while addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns. But it is also high time that all Palestinian factions finally make a genuine good-faith effort to end their divisions,” the High Representative said calling on all parties to put the needs of the people first, and let a single, legitimate and democratic Palestinian Authority assume governance over the West Bank and Gaza.