A+ A-

EP seminar urges Europe to recognize Palestinian state

EP seminar
EP seminar
BRUSSELS, Feb 28 (KUNA) -- Several speakers at a seminar on Palestine held in the European Parliament called Wednesday on the European Union to immediately recognize an independent Palestinians state with East Jerusalem as its capital in order to push forward the Middle East Peace Process.
"Settlements will blow up the Peace Process," warned Mazen Al-Ramahi, President of the General Union of the Palestinian Communities in Europe and he called on the EU to recognize Palestine and not to import any goods from the illegal Israeli settlements.
Ana Gomes, an MEP from Portugal organized the seminar together with the General Union of the Palestinian Communities in Europe under the title "The Israeli settlements in Palestine and the EU." Gomes in her introductory remarks said that today's discussion is very much linked to the impact of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, very much linked to the illegal settlements, which have tremendous consequences on the lives of the Palestinian people.
"The real threat to the existence of Israel is coming by Israeli policy itself, by its illegal occupation and its illegal settlements," she said.
Gomes praised the efforts of EU High Representative for her bold and just positions and efforts to find a solution to the Palestine question and stressed that the "EU must not only be a payer but a player" on the peace process.
On his part, Abdalrahim Alfarra, Palestine ambassador to the EU, said settlements are a cancer, which threatens peace not only in Palestine but in the whole region.
"Time has come for the EU to move from condemnations into practical steps to force Israel to stop the settlements," he said.
He urged the EU to immediately recognize the independent Palestinian state with 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital and called for the implementation of the Arab peace initiative.
On his part, Omar Barghouti, leader and co-founded of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott-Disinvestment-Sanctions) in his speech criticized the contradictory EU policies towards Israel.
"Despite Israel's descent into right-wing extremism, particularly with the current escalation of Israel's brutal occupation and oppression against the Palestinian people, the EU has failed to uphold its legal obligations under international law vis-أ -vis Israeli settlements," he said.
"Therefore the EU remains largely complicit enabling and maintaining Israel's occupation and violation of Palestinian rights," he said.
Barghouti said that many western companies are pulling out from Israel following the BDS campaign.
He stressed that "only effective European civil society pressure can bring this EU complicity to an end." Tom Moerenhout, researcher at the Institute of international and development studies in Geneva, told the seminar that it is "the legal obligation of EU to stop trade with the (Israeli) settlements." "By trading with settlements, the EU and member states violate international law," he said.
Three representatives of European and American Jewish organizations expressed their opposition to the holding of the seminar in the EP describing it as "anti-Semitism" and accused Barghouti of being an obstacle to the peace process.
Ana Gomes rejected their accusations of anti-Semitism and stressed that the seminar is aimed at promoting a just solution to the Palestine-Israeli conflict. (end) nk.mb