EU Pushing for Renewed Peace Talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters/Hamodia) -
European Union Flags in Brussels. (Getty Images)
European Union Flags in Brussels. (Getty Images)

Palestinian Economy on Brink of Collapse

The European Union urged Israelis and Palestinians on Wednesday to quickly restart peace talks that collapsed last year, as the bloc’s new foreign policy chief seeks to reinvigorate European involvement in the negotiations.

Israel should make “every effort to ensure an early resumption of the Middle East peace process,” the EU said in a series of annual reports assessing progress on democracy and human rights in countries close to the 28-nation bloc.

A separate report urged the Palestinian Authority to pursue “positive steps” to restart peace talks.

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, who assumed her position in November, wants to involve Arab states more closely in the work of the Middle East Quartet, which comprises the United States, United Nations, the EU and Russia.

Rather than expanding the Quartet, it would hold more frequent top-level meetings with at least Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, senior diplomats have said.

Last week, the bloc chose veteran Italian negotiator Fernando Gentilini as its special representative to the Middle East.

Meanwhile, there were ominous, off-the-record comments.

“We are on a collision course,” a European diplomat was quoted as saying by Ynet. The diplomat said the EU does not believe Netanyahu’s backtracking on his statement that there would be no Palestinian state if he were re-elected.

In addition, it was reported that an EU internal document prepared before the Israeli elections that outlines some 40 possible ways to pressure Israel to reach an agreement with the Palestinians is making the EU rounds.