Following the latest wave of renewed tensions and violence in Israel and Palestine, and in the hope of turning the page in Israeli politics, the S&D Group discussed today the political situation and prospects in the region with some of our leading Israeli and Palestinian partners.
Invited guests included:
Israeli Labor Party Chair MK Merav Michaeli
Leader of the Arab Movement for Change party in Israel MK Ahmad Tibi
Special Advisor to the Palestinian President Dr Nabeel Shaath
S&D Group president, Iratxe García Pérez, said:
“This latest wave of renewed tensions and violence in Israel and Palestine must be a wake-up call to the international community.
“Behind this complicated conflict, there is a simple truth: Both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in peace, security, freedom and democracy in their own country, which can only be achieved by putting an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and its people, through the two-state solution.
“Our immediate priority must be to save this two-state solution against ongoing developments on the ground, in particular the demolition of Palestinian homes, schools and infrastructure and the evictions of Palestinian families combined with growing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem.
“We also have to invest in building trust between both sides, and firmly condemn all acts of violence, be it the brutal lynching of innocent people in the street, the indiscriminate firing of rockets from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into Israel, or the killing of civilians in Israeli military operations.
“But this is not enough. We call for a European peace initiative to be shaped together with Israelis and Palestinians, as well as other regional and global actors, in order to produce a solid basis for resuming genuine peace talks between both sides with the support of the international community.
“I also trust that Israel will finally close the chapter of successive Netanyahu governments once and for all, and will establish a new political leadership that will be a responsible partner in peace efforts.”
S&D Group vice-president for foreign affairs, Pedro Marques, added:
“The election of Joseph Biden has made the collaboration between the European Union and the United States possible again, and also in this field, which is an opportunity not to be missed. This requires action by us, but also by Israelis and Palestinians who have to put their houses in order.
“Israel has to find a way out of its protracted crisis created by the political and personal interests of Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel also has to listen to its Palestinian Arab citizens and secure equal rights for all in the country.
“Palestinians have to restore their national unity and the democratic legitimacy of their political institutions through long overdue legislative and presidential elections.
“All sides involved in the conflict are responsible for ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip, where a whole generation of young Palestinians have grown up in the world’s largest open-air prison over the past decade.
“Israeli author Amos Oz was right in saying that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resembles a Greek tragedy where the choice is between a bloodbath and a disappointing compromise. However, there is no excuse any more for the inability of both sides and the international community to come to a compromise and a final status agreement.”