And the EU Wonders Why Israel Doesn't Trust It
Today, it was reported that Hannes Swoboda, President of the Socialist and Democratic Group in the EU, ended his visit to Israel and the "occupied" Palestinian territories.
His concluding remarks seems to blame Israel from start to finish for the fact that negotiations have not started with the Palestinians and that there are no serious initiatives on the table.
Just where do these EU representatives come from. Locked their Ivory Towers, do they not hear and see what is going on.
Swoboda held talks with political partners and representatives from the Israeli and Palestinian parties, including the Israeli Labour Party, Meretz and with the Fatah revolutionary council.
Swoboda said: "After my talks with representatives from the Israeli government, opposition and military experts, I am concerned to see that the present government is not willing to start serious peace initiatives.
"It should be stressed, however, that many Israelis, including civil society groups and the peace movement, are interested in finding a solution. Europe must continue its engagement in the peace process and support all those who are willing to create the conditions to restart the peace process.
"Normal relations with Israel and especially with civil society are part of this engagement. But we must avoid any 'upgrading' of relations with Israel which could be misunderstood as support for or acceptance of the Israeli government's policies. We must be clear that the continuing illegal settlements and eradication of Palestinian villages undermine any attempts to find a just solution in the Middle East and go against the EU's policies for peace and security. Government legislation and activities relating to the Arab population and the Bedouins are also not in line with democratic principles.
"Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is failing on both the peace process and the domestic social challenges, and the European Social Democrats are happy to see the new leadership of the Labour Party taking up these issues and aiming to reverse these alarming trends. The emphasis on social justice and fairness is fully in line with social-democratic policies inEurope."
On his talks with the Palestinian Authority he said:
"In my talks with the leadership and the chief negotiator of the Palestinian Authority, I found a strong willingness to find a compromise with Israel [does this guy not look at what Abbas says to his Palestinian street. As with Arafat, Abbas says one thing in English to which ever useful idiot he is tsalking to and completely the opposite when talking in Arabic]. But the economic and financial situation is getting worse and this is making it harder for the Authority to perform basic tasks for its citizens.
"We agree with Fatah, the main party in the Palestinian Authority, that there are two basic conditions for reconciliation with Hamas. On the one hand there must be free and fair elections and on the other all sides must recognise the principle of non-violence in order to build a Palestinian state. A readiness to negotiate with Israel on a compromise for a two-state solution will be crucial. [And meanwhile Hamas are saying that any agreement is only a first stage in the destruction of ther State of Israel]
He concluded with a reflection on the role of Europe in the peace-building process:
"Europe should not only continue to offer financial support but also support the organisation of local elections in the autumn in order to give local leaderships a democratic basis. We should also support Fatah's position that national elections must take place in the whole of Palestine before any reconciliation can be reached with Hamas.
"The negotiations for an action plan with the Palestinian Authority are going well and such an agreement could further stabilise the Palestinian leadership.
"Following our discussions with the Labour Party and Meretz in Israel and Fatah in Palestine, we agreed to enhance the co-operation between the S&D Group and these parties. [ I translate this to mean that the EU will continue funding any NGO that is working against the intersts of the State] We will continue to work together, focusing particularly on social issues, human rights and the peace process." [ when has the EU ever commented on any issue of human rights in the Palestinian territories]