EU pushes for lifting Israeli siege on Gaza

BRUSSELS, (PIC)– The European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers Council called, on Monday, for the need to take swift steps to produce a fundamental change to the political, security and economic situation in the Gaza Strip, including the end of the closure and a full opening of the crossing points.

According to a statement by the EU Foreign Ministers, all stakeholders must commit to non-violence and peace in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The EU urged the Palestinians to make the reconstruction of Gaza an overarching national priority especially as regards to health, energy and access to water.

According to the EU, the Palestinian Authority must fully resume its governmental functions in Gaza, as it is an integral part of a future Palestinian state.

The lifting of restriction on movement of people, services and goods – particularly those designated as ‘dual-use items’ – is needed to allow reconstruction efforts and basic service delivery, the EU added.

The EU welcomed progress on the Duma investigation and called on the Israeli occupation to hold all perpetrators of settler violence to account.

The Foreign Ministers said fundamental change of policy by the Israeli occupation with regard to the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in Area C, will significantly increase economic opportunities, empower Palestinian institutions and enhance stability and security.

Recalling that settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two state solution impossible, the EU reiterated its strong opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, along with the demolitions and confiscation – including of EU funded projects – evictions, forced transfers of Bedouins, illegal outposts and restrictions of movement and access.

It urged the Israeli occupation to end all settlement activity and to dismantle the outposts erected since March 2001, adding that settlement activity in East Jerusalem seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both States.

The EU expressed its commitment to ensure that – in line with international law – all agreements between the Israeli occupation and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

The EU urged all Palestinian factions to engage in good faith in the reconciliation process, vowing that that the EU will continue its support to Palestinian aspirations for Statehood.

The EU called upon the Palestinian unity government to work towards genuine and democratic elections for all Palestinians. To this end, the EU called on all Palestinian factions to find common ground and to work together to address the needs of the Palestinian population.

The Council voiced deep concern that the continuing cycle of violence has led to a serious loss of human life in the occupied Palestinian territory in recent months.

(Source / 19.01.2016)

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