The Resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is a fundamental interest of the EU. The EU’s objective is a two-state solution with an independent, democratic, viable and contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process
The EU’s objective is a two-state solution with an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel and its other neighbours. The EU's long-term policy asserts that negotiations remain the best way forward.
EU positions on "final status issues"
- Borders: The EU considers that the future Palestinian state will require secure and recognised borders. These should be based on a withdrawal from the territory occupied in 1967 with minor modifications mutually agreed, if necessary, in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1402 and 1515 and the principles of the Madrid Process.
- Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory: the EU has repeatedly confirmed its deep concern about accelerated settlement expansion in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. This expansion prejudges the outcome of final status negotiations and threatens the viability of an agreed two-state solution. The EU considers that settlement building anywhere in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law, constitutes an obstacle to peace and threatens to make a two-state solution impossible.
- Jerusalem: The EU considers that the peace negotiations should include the resolution of all issues surrounding the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states. The EU will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties. The EU supports institution building work in East Jerusalem, notably in the areas of health, education and the judiciary.
- Palestinian refugees: The EU supports a just, viable and agreed solution on this question. We will respect an agreement reached between the two Parties on this point. Since 1971 the EU has been providing significant support to the work of agencies providing vital services to the Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). It is committed to adapting this support as appropriate, in pursuit of a just and equitable solution to the refugee issue.
- Security: The EU condemns all acts of violence which cannot be allowed to impede progress towards peace. The EU recognises Israel’s right to protect its citizens from attacks and emphasises that the Israeli Government, in exercising this right, should act within international law. Through its EUPOL COPPS mission, the EU supports the reform and development of the Palestinian police and judicial institutions. EU-Israel cooperation on the fight against terrorist financing and money laundering or other aspects of soft security as well as on security research represents a non-negligible practical EU contribution to Israel's security. Security arrangements should, for Palestinians, respect their sovereignty and show that the occupation is over, and, for Israelis, protect their security, prevent the resurgence of terrorism and deal effectively with new and emerging threats.
EU policymaking from the "Venice Declaration"
The EU has set out its policy on the Middle East in a series of high level public statements. The Venice Declaration of 1980 recognised the right to security and existence for all states in the region including Israel, and the need to fulfil the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. The Berlin Declaration of 1999 included an explicit commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state and to the recognition of a Palestinian state, when appropriate. The Seville Declaration of June 2002 introduced specific details of the final status solution, as set out above.
In June 2002, the EU co-sponsored the Roadmap for Peace, a three-stage process for achieving these objectives. The Roadmap emphasises the need for Palestinian institution-building and economic recovery with a view to enhancing the strength and viability of the future Palestinian state. This “state-building process” requires sustained engagement on the part of the international community. It also requires urgent improvement on issues related to freedom of movement in the occupied Palestinian territory. The EU has repeatedly called for the immediate freezing of settlement activities and the proactive dismantling of outposts as set out in the Roadmap.
From 2007 onwards, the EU actively supported the "Annapolis process" which committed the Israelis and the Palestinians to implement Roadmap obligations and to reach a peace agreement by the end of 2008. The EU Action Strategy for Peace in the Middle East of November 2007 set out a range of ways in which the EU can support the peace process, including Palestinian state-building assistance and comprehensive conflict resolution on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative. Although negotiations took place throughout 2008 in the framework of the "Annapolis process", agreement could not be reached by the agreed deadline.
Since 2009, the EU has supported the US administration initiatives encouraging both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume bilateral negotiations leading to a two-state solution and at the same time continued to uphold the Palestinian state building. Through the PEGASE mechanism, the EU has provided support to the development plans of the Palestinian Authority (PA) starting from the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP) of 2007 and the subsequent National Development Plans.
In December 2013, the EU foreign ministers signalled their readiness to provide unprecedented European political, economic and security support to both parties in the context of a final status agreement. The EU offer includes support measures addressing the final status issues, which would ensure the sustainability of a future peace treaty, as well as a Special Privileged Partnership with both Israelis and Palestinians that will build on the strong existing EU-Israel and EU-Palestinian cooperation and fully exploit the potential of trilateral cooperation to address concrete social-economic challenges and opportunities.