Select Committee on European Union Twenty-Sixth Report


162.  The increasing hostilities in Gaza and the West Bank, between Fatah and Hamas, the take-over of Gaza by Hamas militias, the dismissal of the NUG and the declaration by President Mahmoud Abbas of a state of emergency, all occurred after we had completed taking evidence for this report. Clearly these developments are, in the short term at least, going to complicate greatly any effort to resume a Middle East Peace Process and to be a serious delaying factor.

163.  On 18 June 2007, the General Affairs and External Relations Council condemned the coup by Hamas militias in Gaza and called for the immediate cessation of all violence and hostilities, including in the West Bank (see appendix No. 7). Among a number of measures, the Council supported the Arab League's call for restoring Palestinian National unity and the unity of Palestinian territory, and for ongoing efforts by the Egyptian government to mediate a cease-fire. The EU supported President Abbas and his decision to declare a state of emergency and install an emergency government and re-stated that reconciliation and national unity behind the President's programme of peace was the only way to achieve Palestinian national goals. The EU would do its utmost to ensure the provision of emergency and humanitarian assistance to the population of Gaza including through the Temporary International Mechanism which had been extended until September 2007. The Council reiterated its call on Israel for the immediate release of withheld Palestinian tax and customs revenues[32]. The EU would resume normal relations with the PA immediately including urgent practical and financial assistance.

164.  There is a danger that the situation will deteriorate rapidly and that the crisis will spread beyond the Palestinian territories. In addition, events such as those of June 2007 may be used, as they have often been used in the past, as an excuse for inaction and neglect. We do not believe the international community can afford yet again to repeat these errors and should recognise an even greater urgency in seeking a solution.

165.  These recent events, in our view, reinforce the overall conclusion of our report, that the EU now needs to play a more active and imaginative role in the search for peace in the Middle East than it has done in recent years; they underline the importance of the main policy recommendations we have made. Indeed our view is strengthened that the EU needs to increase and sustain its effort to work more closely with all the main players towards an inclusive peace process and settlement.

32   The situation changed following the events of June 2007 (see footnote 5 at para. 28).  Back

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007