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Report: EU to rally against Israeli stance on peace
Published Wednesday 25/05/2011 (updated) 26/05/2011 22:31
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- "Netanyahu's rejection of peace based on the 1967 borders is self-important and arrogant," Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told the German daily Der Spiegel in a Tuesday interview.

The official was responding to questions on the EU's declared support for US President Barack Obama's peace plan, which bases negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians on the 1967 borders, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rejection of that stance.

Asselborn expressed surprise at Netanyahu's stance, given the relatively uncontroversial position Obama laid out "explicitly stat[ing] that a variation from the 1967 borders would be possible under a mutual land swap."

He said of the Israeli premier's response, "Netanyahu is suppressing the political reality and betting on a stalemate instead. For the peace process, that is deadly."

The foreign minister also spelled a way out of Netanyahu's insistence that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas must choose between unity with Hamas, the rival faction to the premier's Fatah party who agreed a reconciliation deal in April, and with Israel.

"The plan is that the transitional government should sit down with the Israelis as soon as possible to negotiate a two-state solution. In this way, Fayyad wants to prevent a vote at the United Nations General Assembly in September on the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. If Abbas negotiates with Israel and Hamas is part of this transitional government, then Israel will implicitly recognize it," Asselborn said.

He continued, "We need to make an attempt to draw Hamas into a democratic process and bring it on to the path of freedom -- just as we succeeded in doing with Fatah during the 1990s. That would also include informal talks with Hamas," noting the EU would maintain its requirement that the party renounce the use of violence.

Asselborn also called Israel's siege on Gaza and the settlements project in the West Bank, a "form of violence."

In Gaza, he said, "1.7 million people live in an area one-seventh the size of Luxembourg. To shut its borders and to only allow certain goods into the country and hardly any out -- this is also a form of violence. In the West Bank, Israelis continue to build settlements on expropriated land. It is a constant provocation."

He said the EU should be "more courageous" in its support of Obama, should unify its position on the issue of a Palestinian state at the UN.

Asselborn told the German publication, "we in the EU should think about whether we can allow our relations with Israel to carry on as they have been.

"If the Israelis continue to dig their heels in and we just let them do what they want, it could lead to a new war. We Europeans need to send a signal -- not only with words but, if necessary, with actions as well. We need to consider political action if need be."
1 ) amal / Palestine
25/05/2011 13:22
Here's hoping for more action from the EU!

2 ) Esam / US
25/05/2011 13:42
I've always thought that when peace is achieved between Israel and Palestine many Jews around the world will feel safe enough to move to Israel but after seeing how desperate many Israelis like Netanyahu are getting as the pressure to make peace grows I now believe that the opposite will happen. Many in Israel will feel so dissapointed they were not able to get all of historical Palestine they will in fact move out of Israel like the sore losers they are. If that happens then too bad for them.

3 ) Tobias / US
25/05/2011 15:07

The Land never belonged to the US, the EU, and
The Land never belonged to "Palestinians", more than Jews.
So, "the EU can rally against Israeli stance",
and, the US or the UN can rally against Israeli stance,

4 ) Tony B? / ME
25/05/2011 16:02
Asselborn is an idiot. He thinks this conflict can be settled by returning to positions from which Arabs used to attack Israel. "just as we succeeded in doing with Fatah during the 1990s". And exactly what did you succeed in; other than to give them a smiley face makeover? They still indoctrinate the next generation to murder Jews. Negotiations with Arab terrorists is pointless because if Hamas becomes smiley faced, another group will take their place and continue the murdering.

5 ) philly / Sweden
25/05/2011 16:07
I love you Asselborn. Finally a European politician that says what needs to be said. He has the courage to say what the leaders of the big european players won't even dare to think of uttering. Let's hope they don't get to him. The israelis aren't known to play by the rules exactly..

6 ) Fred / USA
25/05/2011 18:31
Bravo to Asselborn. It is good to see and hear a politician with integrity. His words are thoughtful and well-considered. Now what is necessary to give them meaning is true follow-up and action by the European Union.
The naysayers in this commentary strip are just repeating the same tired, empty and narrow-minded arguments and excuses that have led us down dangerous paths time and again and threaten to do this same today.

7 ) Tony B? / ME
25/05/2011 19:37
5) Spoken by an inhabitant a country whose only notable contribution to the world is flatpack porn.

8 ) Joe Fattal / USA
25/05/2011 19:51
I just can't believe Netanyahu was here in the US crying to the congress that they are not wanted over there. He was almost appealing to the congress to help Israel stay where they at. It was a sign of a desperate man try to save his government, not Israel.

9 ) Julie / USA
25/05/2011 20:20
Here comes the Arab Spring against israel, finally!!!!!!! the only difference is, those protesting are residents of THE ENTIRE WORLD. get lost israel, you have NO chance of succeeding to destroy Palestinian self-determination!!!!! :D

10 ) Adam / Nigeria
26/05/2011 01:32
Now or latter, the truth will succeed. Israel will not forever live on false dream. They cannot treat Palestenians as they were treated by the Nazi's and continue to play the victim. Palestine shall be.

11 ) Hilde / Palestine
26/05/2011 02:02
Good. The EU has many ways to put pressure on Israel, boycott, divestment and various kinds of sanctions among them. It is time to use them.

12 ) southparkbear / usa
26/05/2011 02:48
hehehe, i love the passion shown here by fool. I can never have enough watching it which I have been doing for the last 50 years

13 ) Niva dos Santos / Brazil
26/05/2011 09:20

14 ) Tony B? / ME
26/05/2011 14:11
13) Hey Niva. Who gives a damn? Your country is only good for nuts and whores anyway!

15 ) tom / usa
26/05/2011 23:08
finally, its about time the e.u. started stepping out of americas shadow on this, we all know the us is run by zionist an our systems been hijacked, israel wants to keep being a self rightous bully fine, let them deal with some real consequences like sanctions, someone has to straighten them out

16 ) James Hovland / USA
28/05/2011 04:07
Palestine is doing well to keep their focus on creating and maintaining conditions that favor their goals. September is just around the corner now, and time is short. It's important to understand that although the injustice of the situation will play a major role in the international community's decisions, the tangible reality and viability of peace will most likely be the determining factor at the UN this fall. Peace is the key.
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