Ramallah: Israel believes that the EU may try to force it and the Palestinian National Authority to reach a peace agreement in 2013, according to a report published in the Israeli daily Haaretz.
The report, based on an Israeli foreign ministry document, states that the EU seriously doubts the viability of the peace process in its current format to end the Palestinain-Israeli conflict, and believes that it needs a new format for there to be progress in 2013.
According to Haaretz, the report states that the Europeans may try to promote the establishment of an actual Palestinian state independent of negotiations with Israel.
The document’s content will be evaluated by the Israeli Foreign Ministry and will be the first document discussed by the Israeli government expected to be formed in January.
The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) expressed the hope that the EU would advance its position and use all the necessary tools to press Israel to accept the requirements for peace.
“The EU initiative would never land on high grounds unless the EU connects its political views and attitudes with the EU-Israel partnership agreement,” said Tayseer Khalid, a member of the PLO Executive Committee told Gulf News.
“Israel does not care at all for the diplomatic initiatives and does not pay any attention to international isolation. Israel only complies when pressing tools are there,” he said.
“A pressing EU position would change the mode of the Israeli public opinion which currently does not find any tools to press a real change,” he added.
Khalid said that the Palestinian leadership is happy however, that the EU has come to the conclusion that the direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians in its current format are useless. “This is yet another success for Palestinian diplomacy,” he stressed.
“With a pressing EU position, the PLO and the entire Palestinian leadership would believe that the conflict can end in 2013,” he said.
An Israeli foreign ministry official warned of the scenario in which the EU would try to force a solution on Israel and the PNA through means other than the direct negotiations. The official stressed that the EU is looking for ways to promote a two-state solution even if neither side shows a desire for it.
“A growing understanding can be seen in the EU of the ineffectiveness of the current process,” the report is quoted as saying. “This understanding is accompanied by repeated calls to find new channels of progress ... The emphasis from their perspective is not on actual direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, but rather on the essential need to move ahead quickly to a permanent-status solution, because the EU recognises that without a solution, things could go downhill on the ground.”
An EU diplomat told the paper that the international parameters should be formulated for the end of the conflict. “We will no longer agree that the Israelis and the Palestinians should sit alone in a room and we should yes to everything they do,” said the diplomat.
The Israeli document said that the UK and France want to increase their involvement in not only the negotiations between the parties but their presence on the ground in the West Bank, especially after the wave of colony construction there.
“European attempts to strengthen the Palestinians’ hold over the areas of their future state by continuing to challenge Israeli control on the ground in Areas B and C will continue,” said the Israeli document. “European restraint towards Israel is conditional on Israel contributing to the establishment of a Palestinian state,” added that the document.