EU must stand strong in defence of Palestinian rights, EU officials say

Nov 06,2020

All speakers reiterated that the normalisation agreements did not stop Israeli annexation plans, but postponed them.

As she took part in webinar held early this week by the EuroPal Forum, Irish Senator Ivana Bacik said that the EU “must stand strong in a defence of Palestinian rights.

The webinar discussed the normalisation of ties between Arab states and Israel and whether they foster peace or not. “Abraham Accords and the moves to peace between Israel and Arab states is positive in theory,” Bacik said, but she was not happy with the absence of the Palestinians.

She argued that the absence of the Palestinians “makes it difficult to view normalisation as outside the prism of a US re-election exercise Donald Trump has designed.”

Bacik reiterated that the EU should “uphold and apply international law with regard to Palestine, use available mechanisms to hold Israel accountable for violations of international law and engage with Palestinian civil society.”

For his part, Palestinian diplomat Afif Safieh, who took part in the webinar, said: “Normalisation was an unwise policy that undermined the Arab approach to peace-making in the region, namely the Arab Peace Initiative.”

He also said that “the newly emerging consensus, which preferences normalization first without any resolution of the Palestinian question or its territorial dimensions, is at odds with fundamental Palestinian national aspirations and is therefore limited in its capacity to affect change or garner support in Palestine.”

Member of the European Parliament Margrete Auken suggested that the agreements, which have been viewed negatively in the context of its impact on the Palestine question, have served to shine a spotlight on the EU’s role in conflict resolution in Israel-Palestine.

Therefore, she reiterated that “the EU must play a more active role than hitherto, and must move from a policy of condemnation to action,” stressing that “violations of human rights in Palestine must generate a response by the EU and within its member states that places a real accountability on breaches of international law.”

For her part, Member of the Austrian National Council and NEOS’ Spokesperson for Foreign Policy and Research Dr Helmut Brandstätter reiterated that “Europe needs a stronger foreign policy that sees the bloc united as opposed to divided vis-à-vis the Middle East.”

Meanwhile, Former Member of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Dr Nasser Al-Sane stressed that the normalisation agreements between Israel and Arab states “are top-down in nature, alienating the public consensus across the different Arab nations.”

He said that the normalisation “has zero respect amongst popular consensus within such countries where the agreements, according to Dr. Al-Sane, have been criticized vehemently.”

Al-Sane revealed that Kuwait came under a “lot of pressure to join in [with normalization], but owing to domestic opposition and a more horizontal parliamentary system was able to remain opposed to it taking hold in Kuwait.”

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