THE EUROPEAN UNION
Brussels, 16 June 2006
DECLARATION ON THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
The European Union remains committed to working within the Quartet towards the goal of a just, viable and lasting solution based on existing agreements, the relevant UNSC resolutions and the principles laid down in the Roadmap.
In view of the urgent need to re-launch the process towards a negotiated two-state solution which would bring peace to both the Israeli and the Palestinian people, the European Council calls for an early engagement between the Israeli Prime Minister and the President of the Palestinian Authority, who was elected on a platform of peace. It reiterates its expectations from both parties to respect existing agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap.
As set out by the Quartet, the Hamas-led Palestinian Government needs to meet and implement the three principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel’s right to exist and acceptance of existing agreements and obligations.
The European Council remains concerned by the security situation in Gaza and the West Bank. It condemns the violence against Palestinian civilians. It condemns the launching of Qassem rockets against population centres in Israel. It reminds both parties of their responsibility to protect civilian lives. It calls on the Palestinian Authority to take action to improve security and prevent terrorist attacks on Israel. It reiterates its condemnation of extra-judicial killings. It calls on all parties to refrain from violence and to exercise restraint.
The European Council calls on all Palestinian political forces to engage in a national dialogue aimed primarily at putting an end to inter-Palestinian confrontation and establishing law and order. It calls on the Palestinian government to cooperate with the President of the Palestinian Authority to achieve this, including through the disarmament of groups engaged in violence and terror.
The European Council takes note of the announcement by President Abbas to hold a referendum. It calls on all Palestinian political forces to work towards the widest possible consensus in support of the objectives of the Roadmap.
The European Council calls on Israel to desist from any action that threatens the viability of an agreed two-state solution and from acts that are contrary to international law. Of particular concern are settlement activities, the construction of the barrier on Palestinian land and activities in and around East Jerusalem as well as in the Jordan Valley. The European Union will not recognize any change to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed to by both sides.
The European Council urges Israel to resume transfers of withheld Palestinian tax and customs revenues which are essential in averting a crisis in the Palestinian territories.
The European Council stresses the need for a coordinated international response to the deterioration of the humanitarian, economic and financial situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The European Council endorses the proposed temporary international mechanism to channel assistance directly to the Palestinian people, which has been drawn up by the Commission following consultations within the EU as well as with Quartet members, major donors, international financial institutions and partners in the region. The European Council appreciates the Commission’s work so far and requests it to continue urgently establishing the mechanism, in conjunction with Quartet members, other key international partners and the PA President’s Office.
The European Council agrees that, in order to achieve an immediate impact, the mechanism will focus on essential supplies and running costs for social services and health, supply of utilities including fuel, and social allowances. Other donors, including Arab states, are invited to provide funding and to consider early and substantial contributions. The Community stands ready to contribute a substantial amount to the international mechanism.
The European Council furthermore underlines the importance of freedom of movement and urges both parties to take concrete steps to implement their obligations under the Agreement on Movement and Access, in order to alleviate the worsening situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The European Council reiterates the importance of preserving and pursuing the democratic functioning of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority whose continuity is crucial for a future independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state based on the rule of law.