Wednesday

5th Aug 2020

Palestinian PM: Brussels meeting is 'birth certificate' for statehood

  • Fayyad speaking in Brussels on Wednesday evening (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The Palestinian Authority has welcomed endorsement of a UN report on institution building as a "birth certificate" for statehood amid Israeli concern over a potential unilateral declaration of independence.

The Ad-hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) on Palestine at a meeting in the EU capital on Wednesday (13 April) endorsed a UN report which says that in six key areas - rule of law, the economy, education, health, social protection and infrastructure - in the West Bank "government functions are now sufficient for a functioning government of a state."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The AHLC is an international body comprising the EU, US, Israel, Canada, Norway, Russia, four Arab countries, the UN, the World Bank and the IMF.

The endorsement comes ahead of a UN meeting in September in which Israel fears the Palestinian side will unilaterally declare independence in territories under its control before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war due to a stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Speaking after the event in Brussels, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said: "This very important meeting effectively recognised the reality of a state of Palestine being projected on the territory occupied in 1967, which amounts effectively to a birth certificate for the reality of Palestinian statehood."

Asked by press if the move makes a unilateral declaration more likely, he said he would favour a final settlement recognised by Israel: "We are not looking for yet another declaration, or for a virtual state."

He went on to note that the AHLC-UN decision, plus related decisions to grant the Palestinian Authority observer status in the WTO and tariff-free exports to the EU, are "reflective" of growing support for independence, however.

"These are important developments and we see them as reflective. A lot of countries around the world stand ready to offer that recognition. Of course, exactly when they do so precisely is a time for their choosing."

Israeli diplomat Irit Ben-Abba, underlined that the AHLC still sees the stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks as the way forward.

"I am very glad the consensus in the room is that the only way to solving the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is through a negotiated peace agreement. There's no other way to circumvent the direct negotiations between us and the Palestinians."

The peace talks have stalled largely due to Israel's continuing expansion of settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

The UN report noted that since September 2010 Israel has given the green light for 1,700 Jewish settlement units while continuing demolitions of Palestinian homes and evictions of Palestinian families especially in east Jerusalem.

It noted that Israel maintains around 500 roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank and a partial blockade on movement of goods in and out of Gaza.

It added that 10 Palestinians were killed and 545 injured in the West Bank in the reporting period, on top of 24 deaths and 114 injuries in Gaza. It also said Israel continues to hold around 6,000 Palestinians in jail "including around 300 children and some persons held without charges."

A parallel Israeli report submitted to the AHCL instead underlined "the barrage of missiles" recently launched from Gaza, the murder of a Jewish settler family and the long-term captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israel's Ben-Abba said a decision last year to expand the list of products allowed into Gaza effectively "opened the crossings for all goods."

The new list was drawn up after international outrage when Israeli commandos killed nine people on a flotilla trying to break the Gaza siege. Ben-Abba noted that international NGOs are planning to send a new flotilla in late May.

"There's no necessity for flotillas … We call on all governments to put pressure on NGOs to stop all attempts to send flotillas to this region," she said.

For his part, Tony Blair, a former British leader who currently works as an international envoy to the Middle East, appeared to give Israel a carte blanche for collateral damage in Gaza.

Asked by press in Brussels on Wednesday what he thinks of a recent Arab League proposal for a Libya-type no-fly zone for Israeli jets over Gaza, he said: "If the rockets keep coming, then there will be actions taken by the government of Israel and then we get into a situation where civilian lives will be lost."

EU: Hong Kong election delay undermines democracy

The EU demands Hong Kong reverse decision to postpone Legislative Council elections by one year, as western powers suspend extradition treaties with the global financial hub given China's controversial national security laws.

Feature

The Hagia Sophia and the global battle of symbols

The Turkish president's decision to restart Islamic worship services in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia last Friday is not innocent. So how should we react? By doing the opposite - and make Cordoba's famous Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba a museum.

Belarus leader's power creeps as opposition swells

Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko is feeling the heat of an opposition backed by public support ahead of the presidential election on 9 August. His bungling of the pandemic and the high profiles of rivals have led to widespread repression.

News in Brief

  1. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion
  2. Next US envoy to Germany outed on xenophobia
  3. Belgium sees spike in coronavirus infections
  4. Doctors: virus second wave arrives in Germany
  5. Lukashenko: Russia planned 'massacre' in Minsk
  6. Nearly half of Germans happy to see US soldiers go
  7. Poland hails 'crowning glory' of US troop relocation
  8. Germany sends troops to enforce Libya arms embargo

Opinion

Entering a new, more Putin-like, Russia

The so-called "all-Russia" vote finishing today, with more than 200 amendments to the Russian constitution, has been marked by systematic electoral fraud, mass mobilisation of the administrative resources, populistic promises or exploiting the historical memory.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery
  2. Azerbaijan ambassador to EU shared anti-George Floyd post
  3. Polish party roars back at EU on LGBTI fines
  4. EU: Hong Kong election delay undermines democracy
  5. Why hydrogen is no magic solution for EU Green Deal
  6. EU mishandling corona-travel, Belgian expert says
  7. France wants rule-of-law sanctions on recovery budget
  8. The three 'Elephants in the Room' in EU-India relations

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us