Former prime ministers and foreign ministers from throughout Europe, some of whom also served in senior positions in the United Nations, NATO and the European Union, called Monday for the EU to reaffirm its support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in advance of the publication of U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan.
The former leaders urged the EU not to support Trump’s plan if it does not respect this principle and international law.
Among the 37 signatories are former French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, former British foreign secretaries David Miliband and Jack Straw, former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, former EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and other leaders and ministers.
“We are reaching out at a critical point in time in the Middle East, as well as in Europe,” the letter reads.
“In partnership with previous U.S. Administrations, Europe has promoted a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the context of a two-state solution. To this date, despite subsequent set-backs, the Oslo Agreement is still a milestone of transatlantic foreign policy cooperation.
“Unfortunately, the current U.S. administration has departed from longstanding U.S. policy and distanced itself from established international legal norms. It has so far recognized only one side’s claims to Jerusalem and demonstrated a disturbing indifference to Israeli settlement expansion.
The U.S. has suspended funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and for other programs benefitting Palestinians […] Against this unfortunate absence of a clear-cut commitment to the vision of two states, the Trump administration has declared itself close to finalizing and presenting a new plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Despite uncertainty as to if and when the plan will be released, it is crucial for Europe to be vigilant and act strategically.
“We believe that Europe should embrace and promote a plan that respects the basic principles of international law as reflected in the agreed EU parameters for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the former leaders write. “These parameters, which the Union has systematically reaffirmed during past U.S.-sponsored talks, reflect our shared understanding that a viable peace requires the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel on borders based on the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed, minimal and equal land swaps; with Jerusalem as the capital for both states; with security arrangements that address legitimate concerns and respect the sovereignty of each side and with an agreed, fair solution to the question of Palestine refugees.
“Europe, by contrast, should reject any plan that does not meet this standard. While sharing Washington’s frustrations about the unsuccessful peace efforts of the past, we are convinced that a plan that reduces Palestinian statehood to an entity devoid of sovereignty, territorial contiguity and economic viability would severely compound the failure of previous peace-making efforts, accelerate the demise of the two-state option and fatally damage the cause of a durable peace for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
“In anticipation of this U.S. plan, we believe Europe should formally reaffirm the internationally agreed parameters for a two-state solution,” the leaders conclude. “Doing this in advance of the U.S. plan establishes the EU’s criteria for supporting American efforts and facilitates a coherent and unified European response once the plan is published.”
Along with the above-mentioned leaders, the signatories are:Douglas Alexander, former minister of state for Europe (UK); Former Swedish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt; former Polish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz; former Romanian Prime Minister and European Commissioner Dacian Ciolos; , former Belgian Foreign Minister and NATO Secretary General Willy Claes; former Italian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Massimo d’Alema; former Belgian Foreign Minister and European Commissioner Karel De Gucht, former Danish Foreign Minister and president of the European Liberals Uffe Ellemann-Jensen; former Austrian Foreign Minister and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner; former Italian Foreign Minister and European Commissioner Franco Frattini; former Swedish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Lena Hjelm-Wallén, former Slovakian Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan; former Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard; former Danish Foreign Minister and UN General Assembly President, Mogens Lykketoft, former Belgian Foreign Minister and European Commissioner Louis Michel, former Danish Foreign Minister Holger K. Nielsen; former Belgian, EU Special Representative to the Middle East Peace Process Marc Otte; Former Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio, former Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos; former Croatian foreign minister and deputy prime minister Vesna Pusi; former Irish President and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson; former Dutch UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry; former Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller; former Austrian Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger; former British Minister of State for International Development Desmond Swayne; former Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja; former Slovenian Foreign Minister Ivo Vajgl; former Belgian Foreign Minister Frank Vandenbroucke; former Dutch Foreign Minister Jozias van Aartsen; former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine; former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and former Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek.