Sumario: September 16, 2002 : The European Union and the Middle East
The European Union recognizes Israel's irrevocable right to live in peace and security within internationally recognized borders. At the same time, it recognizes the need to establish a democratic, viable and peaceful sovereign Palestinian State on the basis of the 1967 borders, with the possibility of minor adjustments through land swaps, Jerusalem as a shared capital, and a just and acceptable solution to refugee issue. Any agreement should be based on Security Council Resolutions 242, 338
However, the peace process and the stability of the region cannot be hostage to terrorism and violence. The EU strongly condemns all terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and urges the Palestinian Authority to do everything in its power to prevent these. At the same time, the EU continues to call on Israel to withdraw its military forces and stop extra-judicial killings, to lift the closures and all restrictions imposed on the Palestinian people and to freeze settlement activities.
More than ever, the EU sees a need to address simultaneously political, economic/humanitarian and security issues. While reform is undoubtedly an important contribution to the peace process, it cannot be regarded as condition for moving on politically. Reform and institution-building are a Palestinian enterprise and must come from within. Progress can only be achieved provided the Palestinians can be confident that their institution-building efforts will lead to a viable and functioning state based on democratic principles.
As the leading donor of international financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the EU will continue to work with the PA and Palestinian society, as well as with international partners, to promote a resolution to the conflict based on tolerance, respect of democracy and human rights. It is the EU's position that if there is to be a Palestinian State, there needs to be a governing institution, namely the PA. Destruction of the PA's infrastructure or undermining its financial base will not contribute to this goal. EU assistance to the PA is attached with clear, concrete and tangible conditions, obliging the PA to carry out specific reform measures. And expenditure of these monies is strictly verified together with the IMF.
As a part of the so-called Quartet (together with the US, Russia and the UN), the EU supports the convening of an international conference to restart a peace process, which would address political and economic aspects as well as matters relating to security. This would confirm the parameters of a political solution and establish a realistic and well-defined timescale.
The EU will continue to work with the parties and with its partners in the international community, especially with the UN, in the Quartet framework, to pursue every opportunity for peace and a decent future for all the people of the region.