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Blair blind to Israeli duties, hawk-eyed on Palestinian

Date

23 Mar 2010

Sections

Global Europe

Bruxelles, 23/3/10

Stressing the responsibility of the Israeli government to take the necessary steps to restart talks with Palestinians in a meeting with Tony Blair yesterday, Vice-President of the European Parliament's Palestine Delegation, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides (GUE/NGL, Cyprus), expressed satisfaction with Blair's call for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit's release but said he was "surprised that the Quartet's Special Envoy referred only to the commitments that Palestinians should follow without any reference to the occupation by Israel."

"Shouldn't the Israelis release even one of the seven thousand Palestinians that are in Israeli prisons? What about putting an end to the evictions of Palestinians from their homes, particularly in East Jerusalem, or the halting of settlement activity around East Jerusalem? What if Israel terminated the annexation of East Jerusalem? Are these not necessary steps, for the restarting of negotiations?"

On EU development aid, Triantaphyllides noted that "Israel is allowed to destroy everything built with EU aid overnight, as was the case in the last military operation in Gaza in December 2008. What is the point of this funding if the EU won't take any concrete measures to safeguard the infrastructure built with European taxpayers' money?" he asked.

Finally, in response to Blair's call for the EU to help Palestinians organize their administrative structures to facilitate better governance, Triantaphyllides said "we are not being honest, when Palestinians decided to elect a government of national unity at the end of 2006, the EU made no effort to support such a government." 

"If free and fair elections were to take place according to a genuine democratic process, including elections in East Jerusalem despite Israel's reluctance to accept this, would the EU be ready to recognize such a government?"

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