Saturday

13th Apr 2024

MEPs greenlight aid for Palestinian Authority

MEPs in Brussels have adopted a resolution saying that the EU should remain the biggest aid donor to the Palestinian Authority.

However, the resolution also says that it should be on condition that the future Palestinian government lead by the terrorist-listed Hamas renounces violence and recognises the state of Israel

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

In a vote on Thursday (2 February) MEPs urged the leaders of Hamas to commit themselves to peaceful negotiations for a two-state solution in cooperation with the so-called 'Quartet', consisting of the EU, UN, US and Russia.

MEPs said the "radicalisation of the political arena in Palestine" reflected "strong grievances against the past Palestinian administration as well as a reaction to difficult living conditions under occupation".

The EU should continue to assist Palestinian economic development and the democratic process and the international community should focus on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to prevent further radicalisation, the resolution says.

The newly-elect Hamas leaders have said that they want to end violence with Israel, but have ruled out recognising the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

Conservative MEP Charles Tannock warned, however, that the resolution would just compound the problem.

"Hamas is a terrorist organisation and is committed to the destruction of Israel. Hamas is not committed to democracy and our concept of human rights but to a theocracy under Sharia law," he said.

"We would be showing that we have learned absolutely nothing if we sent so much as a penny to a Palestinian Authority led by Hamas."

Opting for change

The Palestinian authority's representative to the EU, Leila Shahid, said Wednesday (1 February) that the West would be sending a wrong signal if it refuses to recognize a Hamas-lead Palestinian government.

"If you reject Hamas, it would be perceived in the region as rejection of democratic principles," Ms Shahid told a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels.

"The EU must not allow the result of the election to conceal the fantastic performance that the election was. It was transparent and in respect of pluralism, and that in a society where pluralism has been condemned," she said.

Ms Shahid explained that the Islamist movement Hamas' "earthquake-like" victory was the result of the deep desire by Palestinians to switch from a party that had not held a meeting in 16 years and was suffering from "political sclerosis", rather than a wish for a stricter Islamist society.

"If you create unity with Hamas - not against - this can be positive. The EU can impose conditionality in such a relationship", said Ms Shahid.

Protests in Gaza

Thursday's vote in Brussels vote came amidst new reports of protests on the Gaza strip in the Palestine territories about cartoons – now re-printed in several European newspapers - of the prophet Muhammad.

Some twenty armed Palestinian gunmen surrounded the EU office in Gaza and urged European governments to apologize for the cartoons.

They threatened to blow up the office if an apology is not presented within 48 hours.

A spokesperson for the commission told a press conference in Brussels that security measures had been taken on behalf of the EU in light of the threats against foreigners, but declined to specify.

Brussels takes cautious line on Hamas victory

Brussels has reacted with caution to election results from the Palestinian territories, indicating a huge win for the islamist Hamas faction, branded by the EU as a terrorist organisation.

EU ministers to tackle Hamas puzzle

EU foreign ministers are set on Monday to discuss their response to the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections, with the German chancellor hinting over the weekend that the EU could cut its funding to the Palestinian Authority.

Interview

EU should use 'all means' to end war in Gaza: Belgian minister

The EU should use "all means" possible to end the violence in Gaza, including sanctions, a peace conference, and a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, Belgian development cooperation minister Caroline Gennez told EUobserver.

Interview

EU should use 'all means' to end war in Gaza: Belgian minister

The EU should use "all means" possible to end the violence in Gaza, including sanctions, a peace conference, and a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, Belgian development cooperation minister Caroline Gennez told EUobserver.

Opinion

The Bolsonaro-Orbán far-right nexus

Defeated far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has given various reasons for sheltering at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia — none of them make sense.

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us