European leaders call on E.U. to broker Israel-Palestinian negotiations


(JTA) — A group of former European diplomats and political leaders has called on the European Union to “construct a coherent and effective policy on the question of Palestine.”

The call by the group, which calls itself the European Eminent Persons Group, came in a letter sent this week to E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, London’s The Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday. The newspaper also published the letter.

The European Eminent Persons Group is made up of former prime ministers, foreign ministers and ambassadors, many of whom signed the letter.

According to the letter, the call was spurred by the reelection of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his formation of a new, right-wing government.

The letter says that the group believes that Netanyahu has “little intention of negotiating seriously for a two-state solution” during his new government’s term, and that the group has “low confidence” in the United States government “to take a lead on fresh negotiations with the vigor and the impartiality that a two-state outcome demands.”

The group remains committed to a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, according to the letter.

“The absence of any credible negotiation process, combined with the desperate condition of the Occupied Territories, the eroding international legitimacy of the Israeli approach and the instability of the wider region, requires a fresh examination of E.U. policy,” the letter said, citing the reluctance of the E.U. and its member states’  “to get out in front of the United States in an area where Washington has always insisted on prime ownership.”

The letter calls on the E.U. to support a United Nations Security Council resolution recognizing a Palestinian state; preparing a new approach to negotiations such as the Arab Peace Initiative; encouraging Palestinian reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, and other Islamic groups; calling for an end to end to West Bank settlement expansion; and labeling goods for sale in E.U. countries that were produced in Jewish settlements.


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