The European Union and its member countries are deeply concerned about the growing violence and extremism in Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories, which have led to an appalling number of Palestinian and Israeli victims, including children. There is great concern about the situation in Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem.
We appeal to the leaders of Israel and Palestine to calm down and refrain from escalating tensions. International law makes settlements illegal. Israel must end settlement expansion and stop settler violence. The perpetrators must be held accountable. Military operations must be proportionate, in accordance with international humanitarian law. Terror attacks must be stopped immediately. All should condemn them and all practices supporting them. Further relaxation of restrictions is needed to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza Strip. It is important to maintain the status quo for Holy Sites in accordance with past understandings, and with consideration for Jordan’s unique role. It is essential to maintain peaceful coexistence among Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
All of these issues can be a hindrance to peace.
We applaud the US, Jordan and Egypt’s efforts to de-escalate tensions and support the Aqaba communiqué. All parties must observe the Aqaba agreements with good faith.
It is crucial to restore a political horizon in the direction of a two-state solution. Only a negotiated deal can offer security and peace for everyone.
A new perspective on peace is urgently needed. The High Representative/Vice president met three weeks ago with Prince Faisal, Saudi Foreign Minister, and Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League. They agreed to revive the Arab Peace Initiative and strengthen it. The EU reiterated its offer of unprecedented economic, political, and security support within the framework of a final status accord as endorsed by the Council conclusions in December 2013. We work closely with international and Arab partners in this effort. We cannot force any parties to peace, but we all share the responsibility of preparing the ground. The EU considers security, rule of law, and peace in the Middle East a priority.
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