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RC-B6-0268/2007

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PV 11/07/2007 - 14
CRE 11/07/2007 - 14

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PV 12/07/2007 - 6.10
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P6_TA(2007)0350

Arutelud
Kolmapäev, 11. juuli 2007 - Strasbourg Uuendatud versioon

14. Palestiina (arutelu)
PV
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  Πρόεδρος. – Η ημερήσια διάταξη προβλέπει τις δηλώσεις του Συμβουλίου και της Επιτροπήςσχετικά με την Παλαιστίνη.

 
  
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  Manuel Lobo Antunes, Presidente em exercício do Conselho. Senhor Presidente, senhores deputados, gostaria de vos dizer que o Conselho deseja sinceramente debater com este Parlamento, com o Parlamento Europeu, os dramáticos acontecimentos ocorridos em Gaza no mês passado, tal como foi solicitado na sessão plenária de 19 de Junho.

O Conselho e a Comissão reagiram prontamente, conforme explicitado nas conclusões do Conselho de 18 de Junho – isto é, não abandonaremos a população em Gaza. Todos os esforços estão a ser feitos no sentido de garantir que o apoio humanitário chegue até Gaza. Referimo-nos a esforços de financiamento e para assegurar, a nível político, que Israel facilite a entrada de comboios humanitários neste território. Mantemos também em stand-by a nossa missão de assistência fronteiriça em Rafah. Se todas as partes chegarem a acordo sobre a reabertura da missão e as condições no terreno o permitirem, a União Europeia continuará a apoiar de novo o regular funcionamento deste ponto de passagem entre Gaza e o Egipto.

Apoiamos o Governo de emergência do Primeiro-Ministro Salam Fayad. As relações entre este Governo da Autoridade Palestiniana e a UE foram imediatamente normalizadas. Israel também tem obrigações específicas. Deve proceder do mesmo modo e acabar por disponibilizar a totalidade das receitas fiscais e aduaneiras palestinianas, bem como facilitar o acesso e a circulação na Cisjordânia e em Gaza, a fim de permitir a actividade económica dos palestinianos. Israel tem, sobretudo, de contribuir para o processo de paz credível que dirigentes palestinianos, como o Presidente Abbas e o Primeiro-Ministro Fayad, estão empenhados em desenvolver. Tal seria uma ajuda incalculável.

A nomeação do Sr. Tony Blair como novo representante do Quarteto não deixa dúvidas de que a comunidade internacional continua activamente empenhada nesta questão. Congratulamo-nos com o facto de o antigo Primeiro-Ministro inglês se ter disponibilizado para este cargo e esperamos muito sinceramente que a sua acção contribua para reforçar o papel e as posições da União Europeia no processo de paz.

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA DELL'ON. LUIGI COCILOVO
Vicepresidente

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. Mr President, since the last debate in this House, the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has profoundly changed.

There are several developments that we should welcome. Israel has finally resumed the transfer of tax and customs revenue, the European Union has decided to normalise its relations with the Palestinian Authority and there is now a new Palestinian Government headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. After a three-month interruption, the bilateral meetings between Abbas and Olmert have resumed. Finally, like many others, I was delighted to hear that the BBC correspondent Alan Johnston had been released after more than three months in captivity.

On the other hand, after the Gaza takeover by Hamas, there is now a high risk of separation between parts of the Palestinian Territory. The people of Gaza are being isolated from the world, and the tensions between the Palestinian factions have never been so high. The creation of a viable Palestinian State is, at least, at risk.

We must continue to work on the development of a political perspective in order to provide peace and prosperity for the region. I hope that the upcoming bilateral meeting between President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert, which, it is to be hoped, will take place on 16 July, will help to frame a credible political perspective for the Palestinian people and that it will pave the way for their joint meeting with the Quartet later on.

I hope that the Quartet can continue its cooperation with the Arab partners, and I look forward to the upcoming meeting of the Quartet, which will most probably take place next week, when all these issues can be discussed. I welcome the appointment of Tony Blair as Quartet envoy, which will certainly further dynamise our role in the Middle East peace process. He can become a new vector of progress along with the Arab Peace Initiative. I will, of course, provide him with every possible assistance, as we did for Jim Wolfensohn, including the staff for his team in Jerusalem.

With regard to assistance, the Commission has been quick in reacting to the new situation. I received a letter from Prime Minister Fayyad, which describes his priority needs. We are ready and are, of course, already mobilising our assistance to provide support to the new Government. The Quartet and the General Affairs and Foreign Affairs Councils have endorsed the extension of the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) until the end of September. In order to fund TIM operations in the third quarter, we have sent a request to the budgetary authority for a transfer of EUR 80 million. I am delighted, and I thank you that the Committee on Budgets has this week agreed to this transfer. We are now able to provide support, through the TIM, until the end of its extension. Direct financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority is already being prepared in the form of a scheme to reimburse private sector arrears, as Salam Fayyad has asked us to do. This would have a doubly beneficial effect on the financial situation of the Palestinian Authority and of the Palestinian private sector. We are identifying some funds for this.

The Commission has resumed its long-standing efforts to build the institutions of the future Palestinian State. We are also providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Finance. A project to assist the Ministry of Finance in the area of internal control and audit has just been launched, and we will launch two more shortly. One is the management of customs, and the other the management of tax revenue.

Finally, a few words on Gaza. We will not, of course, abandon the people of Gaza or the goal of a viable Palestinian State. We are providing humanitarian and emergency assistance to the people of Gaza, and ECHO partners are working on the ground. The TIM is delivering social allowances and fuel. However, the situation may deteriorate further because access to the Gaza Strip is still a problem. Therefore, we have to work even more with the Egyptians and the Israelis in order to open the Rafah and Karni border crossings. Their continued closure impedes the effective passage of humanitarian personnel and goods and it is to be hoped that this will not have devastating consequences for the economy of the Strip.

Finally, border crossings have to be open both for humanitarian access and commerce. If the economy collapses, there will be serious implications for the security of the whole region, for the future of the Palestinian State and, indeed, for the Commission budget. We should not let the population of Gaza become 100% dependent on external aid.

 
  
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  José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, en nombre del Grupo PPE-DE. – Señor Presidente, el Parlamento Europeo aprobará mañana una nueva resolución consensuada, sobre la base de los procedimientos habituales, sobre la situación en Oriente Próximo.

Pero, más allá de ese hecho, señor Presidente, yo creo que hay dos datos sobre los que me gustaría detenerme en mi intervención. Uno, la designación del ex Primer Ministro británico, Tony Blair, como enviado especial del Cuarteto. Aparentemente, y es una pregunta que quisiera dirigir a la Presidencia en ejercicio del Consejo, ese mandato tiene por cometido velar por una correcta aplicación de los fondos de la comunidad internacional a la región.

El segundo elemento al que quisiera referirme, señor Presidente, es la carta firmada por 10 ministros de Asuntos Exteriores y, entre ellos, por el ministro portugués a quien corresponde la Presidencia en ejercicio de la Unión, y que ha sido criticada de forma bastante clara por el Alto Representante para la Política Exterior y de Seguridad Común.

En esa carta se dice que la Unión Europea ha adolecido de una falta de convicción en su política sobre Oriente Próximo, que la Hoja de Ruta –haciendo un pronunciamiento muy contundente– está terminada, y que está terminada sobre la base de una responsabilidad compartida, y que las condiciones que ha impuesto la Unión Europea, y la comunidad internacional en general, han agravado la situación.

Quisiera preguntarle a la Presidencia en ejercicio del Consejo si comparte estas afirmaciones -entiendo que sí-, si han sido hechas a título individual, como ministro portugués, o si se han hecho en nombre de la Unión Europea.

Y, por último, señor Presidente, me gustaría también preguntar acerca de las propuestas que se hacen en esa carta: la celebración de una próxima conferencia internacional sobre la situación en Oriente Próximo y la movilización de una fuerza internacional, tipo OTAN o al amparo del capítulo VII de la Carta de las Naciones Unidas, tendente a garantizar la paz y a mantener un eventual alto el fuego.

 
  
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  Hannes Swoboda, im Namen der PSE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, Herr Ratspräsident, liebe Frau Kommissarin! Angesichts der Situation im Nahen Osten werden jetzt viele Krokodilstränen vergossen. Dabei hätte man doch eigentlich wissen müssen, dass es sehr leicht so weit kommen könnte. Natürlich war die Selbstzerstörungskraft der palästinensischen politischen Kräfte nicht genau absehbar, aber wo war denn die Unterstützung von Israel für Präsident Abbas in den letzten Jahren? Wann haben wir laut aufgeschrieen, weil Herr Abbas nicht unterstützt worden ist? Wo war denn die visionäre und selbständige Strategie der Europäischen Union? Und warum, Herr Ratspräsident, Frau Kommissarin, übergehen wir einfach die Kritik von Herrn De Soto an der Politik des Quartetts? Ist es unser schlechtes Gewissen? Ist es die Einsicht, dass hier wirklich etwas schief gelaufen ist? Denn, Kollege Salafranca, wir müssen doch zugeben, dass etliches schief gelaufen ist.

Ich will jetzt dennoch nicht in der Vergangenheit herumstöbern, weil es ja um die Zukunft geht. Was bleibt zu tun? Meine Fraktion hat vor kurzem unter Federführung von Pasqualina Napoletano eine Nahost-Konferenz abgehalten, und wir kommen zu ähnlichen Ergebnissen wie die zehn Außenminister, die das kürzlich in einem Artikel kundgetan haben. Ich hätte mir gewünscht, dass alle Außenminister dies gemeinsam getan hätten. Wir brauchen eine tatkräftige Unterstützung für die Regierung Abbas/Fayad, wenigstens jetzt. Aber wir sollten uns nicht der Illusion hingeben, eine solche Unterstützung würde bedeuten, dass die Probleme mit der Hamas gelöst sind oder dass die Probleme mit der Hamas militärisch zu lösen sind, indem wir Abbas-Truppen aufrüsten. Das ist ja, was einige glauben! Die Herzen und die Hirne der Wählerinnen und Wähler von Hamas werden wir so sicherlich nicht gewinnen.

Wir brauchen auch endlich eine Anerkennung der Grenzen von 1967 durch Israel — zumindest als Ausgangspunkt der Verhandlungen. Zugegeben, da wird sich einiges verschieben. Wir brauchen eine umfassende Diskussion über alle Aspekte, von der Flüchtlingsrückkehr bis zur Mauer. Diese Dinge sind nicht leicht lösbar, aber sie müssen offen und ehrlich diskutiert werden. Und wir brauchen auch eine Einbeziehung des arabischen Friedensplans, um einen wirklichen Frieden zwischen Israel und seinen arabischen Nachbarn zu erreichen.

Das Ziel muss die Verhinderung von Gewalt sein. Aber wir sollten gerecht sein. Wenn wir von einer Seite Gewaltverzicht verlangen, dann sollten wir das auch von der anderen Seite fordern, und das war in den vergangenen Monaten nicht der Fall.

Ein Wort zu Tony Blair und seiner Aufgabe: Wir hätten ein besseres Gefühl, hätte Tony Blair in seiner etwa zehnjährigen Regierungszeit eine aktive, progressive und erfolgreiche Nahostpolitik betrieben. Wir haben eine solche Politik nicht gesehen. Mag sein, dass sich Tony Blair jetzt von manchen Fesseln — atlantischen und sonstigen Fesseln — befreien und eine andere Rolle spielen kann. Wenn dem so ist, werden wir das sehr begrüßen. Wir wünschen ihm zum Wohle der Region viel Glück, aber er muss sich sehr anstrengen, um eine andere Politik zu betreiben als in den vergangenen Jahren.

 
  
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  Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, namens de ALDE-Fractie. – Voorzitter, Raadsvoorzitter, commissaris, de vorige betogen hebben al duidelijk aangetoond dat er een en ander is veranderd in onze respectieve opstellingen jegens de situatie in het Midden-Oosten in het algemeen en de problematiek Israël-Palestina in het bijzonder.

Ook ik zal daarvan getuigen, maar wat ik niet zal doen - in tegenstelling tot sommigen - is als het ware afstand nemen van die opstellingen, want ik voel mij eigenlijk, ook namens mijn fractie, medeverantwoordelijk voor alles wat er tot nu wel en niet is gebeurd. Het is wat al te gemakkelijk om te zeggen: dat zijn dezen of genen en wij zijn nu de goeden, want wij weten wat er voortaan moet gebeuren. Ik denk dat we allemaal medeverantwoordelijk zijn voor de gang van zaken, voor het niet-optreden van de ene of het te laat optreden van de andere.

Hoe dan ook, wat er in Gaza is gebeurd, leek op een totale impasse, maar tegelijk heeft dat geleid tot een aantal ontwikkelingen die als het ware een window of opportunities vormen. De moedige opstelling van de president van de Palestijnse Autoriteit, van de eerste minister, het feit dat er weer gesprekken met Israël worden gevoerd, de bevrijding van Alan Johnston, waarover wij ons natuurlijk verheugen, en de vrijlating van een aantal Palestijnse gevangenen. We zouden alleen willen dat er nog meer worden vrijgelaten.

Het hernieuwde initiatief van de Arabische Liga, dat bijzonder belangrijk is, en de blijken van de bereidheid van Egypte, Jordanië en andere Arabische landen om zich veel meer in te zetten, zich veel meer te gaan inlaten met de verdere gesprekken, dat zijn allemaal evenveel hoopgevende tekenen. Dat betekent natuurlijk niet dat de situatie in Gaza niet ellendig zou zijn voor de betrokkenen. Ik verheug mij dan ook over de hernieuwde initiatieven van de Commissie, zoals ik me ook verheug over het feit dat Israël, hoewel het daarmee veel te lang gewacht heeft, eindelijk begonnen is met het overdragen van belastinggeld aan de Palestijnse Autoriteit.

Ik zou willen besluiten - want ik wil uw oproep om mij te houden aan mijn spreektijd respecteren, Voorzitter - met een oproep aan ons allen dat we nu gezamenlijk de politieke moed opbrengen om resoluut toe te werken naar de oplossing die we eigenlijk allemaal kennen: twee leefbare staten die vreedzaam naast elkaar leven binnen internationaal erkende grenzen. Als we die politieke moed kunnen opbrengen, allemaal, en onze kleine en soms grote verschillen opzijschuiven, dan daagt het misschien nog in het oosten.

 
  
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  Liam Aylward, thar ceann an Ghrúpa UEN. – A Uachtaráin, cuirim fáilte mór roimh an sceál gur scaoileadh an t-iriseoir, Alan Johnson, ón BBC saor ó Gaza tar éis dó a bheith gafa le ceithre mhí anuas. Tá áthas ó chroí orm go bhfuil sé saor agus go bhfuil sé sa bhaile anois lena mhuintir agus lena chairde. Cuirim fáilte freisin roimh shocrú rialtas Iosrael an deireadh seachtaine seo caite 250 príosúnach a scaoileadh saor. Ach tá cúrsaí daonnachta in Gaza dona go fóill. Caithfear ord agus eagar a chur ar an soláthar bia atá ag dul isteach go muintir na Palaistíne. Níor cheart cead a thabhairt d'údaráis Iosrael cosc a chur ar an mbia ag teorainn Gaza agus Iosrael.

The biggest problem facing the people of Gaza is a humanitarian one. The fact that Hamas now controls Gaza and Fatah controls the West Bank does not help the Palestinian cause one iota. This means in essence that the Palestinians can be accused of speaking in two different directions at the same time. In other words, Israel can hide behind the fact that the Palestinians are divided and that they are not now speaking with one voice. I also believe that the European Union is in a very strong position to act as an honest broker on many political issues in the Middle East. In fact, Europe must engage politically to a greater extent so as to ensure that civil war is avoided.

 
  
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  Hélène Flautre, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Monsieur le Président, vous avez plaidé, Monsieur Antunes, avec neuf de vos collègues, pour une approche nouvelle en Palestine. C'est un bon point de départ, en effet. Le rapport de M. de Soto, coordinateur spécial des Nations unies, établit une critique sans appel de la stratégie du Quartet, et l'Union elle-même n'en sort pas grandie. Sa stratégie n'a pas su encourager la normalisation du Hamas dans le champ politique, ni le respect par Israël de ses obligations internationales, ni les efforts d'unité des Palestiniens. Le désastre, aujourd'hui, est humain; il est économique et social; il est politique. Alors, quelle approche nouvelle développer?

L'Union européenne, Madame la Commissaire, n'est pas une organisation caritative. Elle doit s'engager politiquement, et en premier lieu dégager une perspective crédible de résolution définitive du conflit. Le potentiel du plan de paix présenté par la Ligue arabe doit être totalement exploité à cet effet. L'Union doit s'engager en faveur d'une conférence internationale pour la paix associant toutes les parties. Elle doit le faire résolument, quitte à tirer le Quartet par la main. Toutes les voies doivent être utilisées par l'Union pour mettre les autorités israéliennes en état de répondre à leurs obligations internationales et obtenir, sur le terrain du droit, au profit des civils palestiniens, des résultats tangibles. L'Union devrait assumer ses responsabilités à la frontière de Rafah et dénoncer, le cas échéant publiquement, les entraves mises à l'exercice de sa mission de contrôle. Le blocus de la bande de Gaza, qui crée des conditions favorables à l'explosion de violence et a été suivi du coup de force du Hamas, doit être levé. La circulation des personnes et des biens, entre Gaza et la Cisjordanie, de même qu'entre Gaza et Israël, doit être rétablie.

Je conclurai, Monsieur le Président, en disant que, dans un tel cas, l'Union devrait proposer à ses partenaires d'examiner la pertinence d'une force internationale pour donner toutes ses chances à la paix.

 
  
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  Luisa Morgantini, a nome del gruppo GUE/NGL. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, spero davvero che Tony Blair sia in fase di redenzione dopo i suoi peccati sulla guerra irachena e possa contribuire a portare pace e giustizia ai palestinesi e pace agli israeliani. Per questo ringrazio davvero molto l'input dato dai dieci ministri degli Esteri europei che hanno dato a Blair quattro punti fondamentali sui quali lavorare. Si tratta di punti urgenti e veramente drammatici.

Per aiutare Mahmoud Abbas, il popolo palestinese e Israele, credo sia veramente indispensabile negoziare un accordo risolutivo e farla finita con un'occupazione militare brutale che dura da più di 40 anni. Ciò è fondamentale ma è altrettanto fondamentale l'emergenza.

Come Unione europea noi abbiamo delle responsabilità: riaprire Rafah, seimila persone sotto il sole, senza nulla, che non possono rientrare a casa. Dobbiamo fare in modo che l'EU BAM funzioni. In relazione ai prigionieri politici, occorre senz'altro liberare Gilad Shalit ma allora anche i prigionieri politici palestinesi, tra cui Marwan Barghouti, che può rappresentare un fattore di unità sia politica che per la pace in Medio Oriente.

 
  
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  Jana Hybášková (PPE-DE). – Please allow me to express my and our group’s satisfaction with the motion for a resolution we are going to vote for tomorrow.

To our satisfaction it does not criticise the Quartet as was perceived by some political groups. On the contrary, it expresses support for its future intensified action. The motion for a resolution clearly expresses full support and understanding for the extraordinary decisions taken by Mahmoud Abbas. The resolution will take note of confidence-building talks between Salam Fayyad’s government and the Israeli Government, as well as the renewal of security cooperation.

We welcome the decision on taxes and revenues as well as the start of the release of political prisoners by Israel. Nevertheless, Mahmoud Abbas must go for real democracy, for political party congress and for work with young Fatah.

Israel should seriously consider the lifting of roadblocks as was the state before December 2000 and stop the extension of settlements. Egypt should be part of the solution to the Gaza problem.

Sending international forces to Gaza would be an incredible risk to all of us, and for the European Union the composition of the proposed international conference should be a matter of great concern. Syria should be held responsible for its external action. Only then can it be part of the dialogue and the solution.

We try to help those in the West Bank, Palestinians, as much as we can via financial help and in every other way. Nevertheless, 90% of those in the West Bank are peasants, the Felaheen. They depend on agricultural exports. We urge Israel to open the flow of goods, and my question is, how does our agriculture hypocrisy work? Are we ready to open our markets to Palestinian West Bank agricultural products?

 
  
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  Alyn Smith (Verts/ALE). – I thank the Commissioner and colleagues across the House for the support they have expressed for Alan Johnston, whom we are all glad to see released and safe at home in my constituency in Scotland. However, that is one bright spot amid a sea of pain, and we must recognise our own part in that failure.

I agree with the Commissioner that, at long last, there may be some scope for optimism. However, when I, Mrs Morgantini and others were in the West Bank and Gaza last year it was clear then that EU policy is a sticking plaster, not a cure.

The Quartet is discredited in the eyes of much of the Arab world. It is certainly discredited in the eyes of many of the Palestinians. The EU should step up to the plate and provide real leadership and clean hands.

I echo the scepticism of colleagues on the appointment of Tony Blair as envoy. Speaking for once as a British Member, the idea that that deeply compromised individual can credibly represent peace to the Middle East fills me with dread. This is important, because we only need to look at the bomb attempts in Glasgow and London to see that the consequences – direct or indirect – of our continued failure in Palestine will haunt all of us.

 
  
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  Κυριάκος Τριανταφυλλίδης (GUE/NGL). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, δυστυχώς δεν έχουμε το χρόνο να αναλύσουμε την κατάσταση στην Παλαιστίνη. Βρισκόμαστε στο Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο και καλούμαστε να δώσουμε άμεσες απαντήσεις σε ένα άκρως επείγον και πολύπλοκο ζήτημα.

Θα σταθώ λοιπόν μόνο σε τέσσερα σημαντικά σημεία:

Πρώτον, η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση φέρει ευθύνη για τη σημερινή κατάσταση, αφού δεν στήριξε την κυβέρνηση εθνικής ενότητας.

Δεύτερον, οι λύσεις και πράξεις που βλέπουμε τον τελευταίο καιρό από την πλευρά του Κουαρτέτου και του Ισραήλ, ενώ επιφανειακά φαίνονται να στηρίζουν τον Πρόεδρο Αμπάς, εντούτοις του βάζουν περισσότερα εμπόδια για μια βιώσιμη λύση στο πρόβλημα της ντε φάκτο διχοτόμησης της Παλαιστίνης.

Τρίτον, καλώ όλα τα μέρη να εργαστούν σκληρά για την ενότητα, γιατί είναι ο μόνος τρόπος να βγούμε από την κρίση.

Τέταρτον και τελευταίο, υπάρχει το θέμα της ανθρωπιστικής κατάστασης, που είναι τραγική τόσο στη Λωρίδα της Γάζας όσο και στη Δυτική Όχθη. Ιδίως όμως για τη Λωρίδα της Γάζας πρέπει να ληφθούν άμεσα μέτρα για την οικονομική και κοινωνική βιωσιμότητα των κατοίκων της.

Κλείνοντας, θα ήθελα να κάνω μία παράκληση προς το Συμβούλιο και την Επιτροπή: Θα πρέπει κάποια στιγμή, και αν βρεθεί ενότητα ανάμεσα στην Χαμάς και στην Φατάχ, να χαράξετε τη μελλοντική πολιτική της Ένωσης σε αυτόν τον τομέα που δεν θα πρέπει να επαναλαμβάνει τα λάθη του παρελθόντος, όπου η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση επιλεκτικά διαπραγματευόταν με το ήμισυ της κυβέρνησης, ενώ επιδεικτικά αγνοούσε το άλλο μισό, άσχετα αν ολόκληρη η κυβέρνηση ήταν το προϊόν ελεύθερων και δημοκρατικών εκλογών.

 
  
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  Eugen Mihăescu (ITS). – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, nous sommes aujourd'hui dans le village du monde, l'Europe, en train de nous lamenter parce que, dans la place, près de nos frontières, des êtres humains se tranchent la gorge. Au lieu d'intervenir, nous pleurons et crions comme de vieilles femmes. Cela s'appelle la non-assistance à personne en danger, délit qui est puni par la loi. Un grand sage disait que les saints et les prophètes valent davantage que les artistes, les hommes de lettres, les hommes d'État, les soldats et les marchands. Mais où sont aujourd'hui les sages et les prophètes?

Il nous faudrait un nouveau Saint-François d'Assise. Celui-ci vivait aussi à une époque de croisades, mais il s'intéressait aux autres, à ceux contre lesquels combattaient les croisés. Il fit tout pour aller les voir. Finalement, au cours de la cinquième croisade, pendant le siège de Damiette en Egypte, attristé par le comportement des croisés, il disait "J'ai vu le mal et le péché". Bouleversé par la vue des morts sur les champs de bataille, Saint-François franchit les lignes du front. Il fut capturé, enchaîné et conduit auprès du Sultan Saladin, né à Tikrit. La rencontre a dû être très particulière car, après une conversation qui s'est prolongée tard dans la nuit, le Sultan laissa Saint-François repartir le lendemain matin, sain et sauf, au camp des croisés.

J'espère que chacun a exposé ses raisons à l'autre, que Saint- François a parlé du Christ, que le Sultan a lu des passages du Coran, et qu'à la fin, ils sont tombés d'accord sur le message que le pauvre Saint-François d'Assise répétait partout: "Aime ton prochain comme toi-même".

Tony Blair a été un des croisés en Irak. Peut-il devenir le Saint-François dont l'Europe a besoin au Moyen-Orient?

 
  
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  Edward McMillan-Scott (PPE-DE). – Mr President, the Palestinian question, and Palestine’s relations with Israel, not only split families, but political groups in this House and in other assemblies around the world – and, indeed, institutions. One of the dilemmas for today is those very institutions that we represent here, and our part in the Quartet in recent years. Some hope that the appointment of Tony Blair, with his very specific role in relation to the Palestinian people, might revivify that process. I do not know. I think what is important is that the values that gave rise to the European Union itself should continue to inspire people across the Middle East, but especially in Palestine and in Israel.

Like others, I rejoice at the release of Alan Johnston. I am a patron of the BBC World Service Trust. He was reporting from Gaza when elections were held that led to the election of Abu Mazen in January 2005, followed in January 2006 by the election of a Hamas-led Government in Palestine. The dilemma for the democratic nations – what used to be called ‘the West’ – was whether or not to recognise that Hamas Government. Well, we know what happened, and the consequences still face us today. I wonder whether the European Union can genuinely feel satisfied that it has played an adequate role in this period.

I am pleased that the European Parliament is now discussing the setting-up of a working group in the Committee on Foreign Affairs, something I first proposed two and a half years ago. I am pleased that we are hosting a United Nations Conference at the end of August, but I still think that there is work to be done, intensive work by the parliamentarians of Europe, working together with the elected parliamentarians of the Arab world – which includes some we might not normally want to do business with. We have to face things in a different way in the future.

 
  
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  Geoffrey Van Orden (PPE-DE). – Mr President, it has been said that there are five intertwined crises in the Middle East. We can see that Iran has a hand in all of them. Gaza may be controlled by Hamas, but Hamas is not its own master: there is a veto in Tehran. Perhaps, therefore, it is more accurate to say that there is just one conflict in the Middle East, and that is between extremists and moderates. We have an obligation to encourage and support the moderates.

There is a danger that some regard Hamas as some sort of social service with attitude. This would be a profound error: Hamas is essentially a terrorist organisation. Its power comes from intimidation and murder and it wants to impose its own distorted view of Islam on a frightened population. I remember only too well the plea made by the internationally renowned Palestinian, Dr Hannan Ashrawi, at the time of the legislative elections 18 months ago. She said: ‘We must defeat the forces of darkness’.

The people of Gaza cannot really express themselves freely. Meanwhile, Israel is under constant attack and, yesterday, mortar bombs were fired from Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing, a route for humanitarian aid from Egypt to Gaza.

Let us not forget that, while we are delighted and relieved at the release of Alan Johnston, Corporal Shalit was abducted a year ago, and we know nothing of his situation. Members of his family were in Parliament yesterday.

So what is to be retrieved from this confusing and dangerous mixture? For its part Israel has acted with restraint: it has recognised the government of Salam Fayyad, it has released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, it is transferring some USD 400 million in tax receipts paid by Palestinians, and it is actively engaged in talks with the leadership of the PA. However, it will take a third party – Arab or possibly European – to make real progress. The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 still offers the most promising way ahead and I am sure Israel recognises this. Just as we must support the forces of moderation and oppose the terrorists, so moderate Arab governments must be willing to engage more actively and flexibly in the peace process: politically, economically and financially. It is in our interests – and theirs – that they do so.

 
  
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  Philip Claeys namens de ITS-Fractie. – Voorzitter, dank u voor het begrip. De Europese Unie moet de pragmatische krachten binnen het Palestijnse kamp steunen. Dat betekent dat de hulp en middelen moeten gaan naar de Palestijnse Autoriteit op de Westelijke Jordaanoever, maar niet naar Hamastan in Gaza.

We moeten ook bij de Israëlische autoriteiten erop aandringen dat de douane-inkomsten worden doorgestort aan de Palestijnse Autoriteit op de Westelijke Jordaanoever en dat de beperkingen inzake het verkeer van personen tussen de Westelijke Jordaanoever en Israël in de mate van het mogelijke worden versoepeld. Het is inderdaad van groot belang dat de invloed van Iran wordt ingedamd.

 
  
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  Manuel Lobo Antunes, Presidente em exercício do Conselho. Senhor Presidente, permitir-me-á que, em primeiro lugar, manifeste os meus cumprimentos, em especial à Sra. Comissária Benita Ferrero-Waldner, e que chame também a atenção para a sua primeira intervenção, que foi muito clara e muito explicativa sobre a acção que a União Europeia está a desenvolver na Palestina, no âmbito daquilo que são as competências da Comissão, intervenção que muito agradeço.

Gostaria de referir rapidamente duas questões que foram aqui levantadas, sobretudo pelo Senhor Deputado José Salafranca, a primeira a que tem a ver com a questão da nomeação do Sr. Tony Blair no âmbito de funções de representante do Quarteto e, depois, também a questão da carta assinada por dez Ministros dos Negócios Estrangeiros de Estados-Membros da União Europeia.

Relativamente à nomeação do Sr. Tony Blair, julgo que temos que nos regozijar por essa nomeação, em primeiro lugar porque é um europeu, em segundo lugar porque foi Presidente do Conselho Europeu, em terceiro lugar, porque é um político de extraordinária experiência em matérias internacionais, em parte também porque é um homem de convicções. Portanto, julgo que o Quarteto, a União Europeia, nós, europeus, todos temos a ganhar com essa nomeação, e devemos prestar-lhe toda a colaboração que pudermos. O seu mandato está definido, é conhecido, e o Sr. Tony Blair actuará naturalmente no âmbito do mandato que lhe foi conferido. Esperamos evidentemente que da sua acção resultem benefícios para o processo de paz no Médio Oriente e desejamos-lhe felicidade nessa missão.

Relativamente à carta que foi aqui referida, devo dizer que essa carta foi elaborada e assinada no âmbito de um contexto de um grupo de ministros, informal e específico, o Ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros português assinou exactamente nessa qualidade. Se vir a carta, ela não diz Luis Amado, Ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros ao Presidente do Conselho da União, diz Luis Amado, Ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros de Portugal, e foi exclusivamente nessa base que essa carta foi assinada.

Podemos estar ou não de acordo com o seu conteúdo, com o seu teor, mas há uma coisa que julgo que é importante: é que ela, no seu espírito pelo menos, chama a atenção para a urgência, para a complexidade, para a necessidade de a União Europeia, em conjunto, poder ter um papel importante na resolução deste conflito, na resolução de um conflito que se arrasta há 40 anos, e respondendo assim ao apelo aqui feito por muitos senhores deputados no sentido de a União Europeia tentar quanto possível ter um papel decisivo no assunto. E devo dizer, senhores deputados, que procuraremos na nossa presidência, naturalmente em colaboração com a Comissão, tentar dar uma contribuição tão intensa quanto possível, tão frutuosa quanto possível, para que o processo de paz no Médio Oriente possa conhecer um desenvolvimento efectivo, um avanço positivo.

 
  
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  Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the Commission. Mr President, I will be really brief. We must take from this discussion the positive elements in this very difficult peace process and try to put the puzzle together in such a way that there is a step forward.

I hope that the next meeting of the Quartet, where, I think, the political horizon and the political settlement will at least start to be mentioned, will be such a step forward.

Secondly, I would mention all the daily improvements for the Palestinians: the mobilisation of international assistance, the institutional and governmental needs of the Palestinian State and the plans to promote Palestinian economic development. In this respect, we are also ready to revive our interim Association Agreement with the Palestinian Authority, which, among other things, provides for the importation of agricultural products from Palestine – although, of course, on the basis of a quota system.

We all try to do our best, but it also depends on the political will of both sides, which, unfortunately, we cannot substitute for.

 
  
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  Presidente. Comunico di aver ricevuto sei proposte di risoluzione(1) conformemente all'articolo 103, paragrafo 2 del regolamento.

La discussione è chiusa.

La votazione si svolgerà giovedì 12 luglio 2007.

 
  

(1)Vedasi processo verbale.

Viimane päevakajastamine: 2. august 2007Õigusalane teave