Sweden recently became the first EU country in Western Europe to recognise Palestine as a state. Today MEPs will vote on a resolution calling for Palestine to be recognised as a state. Would such a move help defuse violence in the region? We discussed it with Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL, UK), chair of the delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council, and Fulvio Martusciello (EPP, Italy), chair of the delegation for relations with Israel.
Violence in Israel and Palestine seems to be escalating again. How can the EU and the Parliament help to make a difference?
Martina Anderson: The EU can make a difference by living up to its own obligations and suspend its Association Agreement with Israel due to its continued violation of Human Rights, as provided for under Article 2. Furthermore, the EP could recognise the state of Palestine which would provide an impetus for meaningful talks towards a two-state solution, between two states.
Fulvio Martusciello: The European Parliament must condemn loudly and unanimously every episode of violence doing everything necessary to reverse this downward surging spiral of violence.
What is necessary to achieve a lasting peace?
Martina Anderson: The very viability of a two state solution has been continuously undermined by Israel's occupation even when they were supposed to be working for that solution through negotiations. This cannot go on. Recognition of the Palestinian state should not be seen only as an outcome of negotiations but as the basis of genuine negotiations towards a two state solution.
Fulvio Martusciello: The European Union has to work diplomatically in order to promote and achieve the peace process between Israel and Palestine. The EU's efforts should be aimed at encouraging dialogue avoiding hasty decisions and anti-moderate positions.
This article was originally published on Wednesday 26 November 2014.