Israel Calls for End to Palestinian Terror and Two-State Solution in Meeting with EU Officials
Israel is committed to a two-state solution, but the Palestinians must put a stop to terrorism and incitement, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Monday during the first high-level talks with European foreign ministers in a decade.
“Israel wants peace that will lead to security, not peace that will destabilize the Middle East,” Lapid remarked during his video conference address at the 12th meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council in Brussels, which reconvened for the for the first time since 2012.
Formed in a 1995 agreement signed in Brussels to define EU-Israel relations, Israel ditched the Council after a 2013 EU decision distinguishing settlements from the rest of Israel for the purposes of agreements.
“This Council has not convened in over a decade – for the wrong reasons,” Lapid said. “The fact that we are convening it now corrects an historic mistake.”
Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern is leading the Israeli delegation during diplomatic discussions at the meeting in Brussels.
During the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell welcomed Lapid’s call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he expressed in his first address to the UN General Assembly at the end of last month.
“We want the resumption of a political process that can lead to a two-state solution and a comprehensive regional peace,” Borrell said. “We have to explore how we can put this into practice.”
Borrell raised concern about the “worrisome” situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and the “continued tensions and violence on the ground,” as well as the expansion of settlements.
“This year is the year in which the number of Palestinian deaths is the biggest since 2007,” Borrell emphasized. “You cannot say that you have got peace because you have got peace with the Arab states.” “You also have to have peace with the Palestinians,” he urged.
On the agenda of the meeting with European foreign ministers were also Iran’s nuclear capabilities and the months-long attempts to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which Israel has been vehemently opposed to.
“Even though we disagree on the JCPOA, we all agree that everything must be done to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state,” Lapid said. “This is a regime that is murdering its citizens even as we speak.”
Lapid noted that the renewal of the Council forum will help boost economic ties between Israel and the EU and advance bilateral cooperation in areas of trade, climate, energy, water technology, digitalization, cyber, and health.