MEPs press the EU to come up with a bold peace initiative for the Middle East
Parliament called on Thursday for a fresh EU approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The EU must fulfil its responsibilities as an influential player and take a bold and comprehensive peace initiative for the region, MEPs said, regretting the lack of a comprehensive and coherent vision of the EU's engagement in the Middle East Peace Process, despite its ambitions there.
Parliament calls for the resumption of credible peace efforts without delay and says that EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Special Representative Fernando Gentilini must make better use of EU member states' political and institutional expertise on the region to play a genuine political role in the peace process. MEPs stress that only non-violent means and respect for human rights and humanitarian law can achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Rights of civilians come first
"Preserving the viability of the two-state solution through concrete action and ensuring full respect for the rights of civilians on both sides must be an immediate priority for the EU and the international community", MEPs say, underlining that the EU is ready to engage with regional partners on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative. They also suggest that the Quartet's aims should be refocused on finding a political solution to the conflict.
Rehabilitating Gaza – a humanitarian aid priority
Ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip, its urgent reconstruction and rehabilitation following the 2014 summer war must be a humanitarian aid priority for the EU and the international community, MEPs urge the EU and other donors to live up to their promises to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), which has been under serious financial stress.
They also call for the EU Border Assistance Mission EUBAM Rafah to be reactivated "with a more ambitious mandate and adequate means" to "play a concrete role in the control of the Gaza Strip's borders with Egypt and Israel."
The resolution was passed by 525 votes to 70, with 31 abstentions.
Note to editors: In a separate vote on Wednesday, Parliament decided to change the name of its "Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council" to "Delegation for relations with Palestine".
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution