Main results of the discussion on 18 May
Picture: Anas Baba/ AFP/ Getty Image
EU Council (18.05.2021) – https://bit.ly/2T2CF63 – EU foreign affairs ministers exchanged views on recent, grave upsurge in violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and discussed the elements of the EU response.
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, summarised the overall sense of the discussion as follows:
- the priority is the immediate cessation of all violence and the implementation of a ceasefire, in order to protect civilians, and give full humanitarian access in Gaza
- the upsurge in violence in the last days has led to a high number of civilian deaths and injured, including a high number of children and women. This is unacceptable
- the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups on the Israeli territory is to be condemned
- we fully support Israel’s right to self-defence. This has to be done in a proportionate manner and respecting international humanitarian law
- the status quo of the Holy Sites must be fully respected, and the right to worship upheld
- it is important not to proceed with evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, in line with the EU position on settlements
- real security for Israel and Palestine requires a true political solution that will bring peace. In order to do so, we need to restore a political horizon, explore space for re-engagement between the parties, develop confidence-building measures, improve the people’s living conditions, and open the path towards the potential relaunching of the peace process
- the holding of Palestinian elections must be considered a priority
- the EU will renew its engagement with key partners like the new US administration, and a revived Quartet
- the EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, Sven Koopmans, will travel to the region to engage with the Quartet, other partners and the parties themselves.