Borrell spoke at the session on Israel-Palestine at the EP General Assembly held in Strasbourg, France.
Referring to his personal relationship with both Israel and Palestine, Borrell said that he had a telephone conversation with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammed Shtiye even this morning, and that he invited Shtiye to Brussels.
Borrell gave information about the details of the phone call with Cohen, saying:
“I spoke on the phone this morning with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who was not very happy with this discussion. He was worried and asked why the AP was meddling in Israel’s internal affairs, blaming me once again. I am sad. If the AP calls me to discuss a topic, I should come, right? I am not the one who put this title on the panel ‘The deterioration of democracy in Israel and its consequences in the occupied territories’, it is political groups.“
Emphasizing that the AP is free to discuss anything it deems important, Borrell said, “That’s what I tried to explain to the Israeli minister in a very friendly way. Look, it’s normal for parliamentarians to be concerned about the growing spiral of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.‘ he said.
Borrell, “Of course, we have a strong belief in the two-state solution and we believe that there is no viable alternative other than that. We will continue to work with our international partners for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.” said.
Stating that he hoped the EP session would be useful for Cohen not to take an anti-Israeli position, but to show him how to contribute to the Middle East peace process, Borrell continued as follows:
“If you have a concern, if you have a concern, you will not hesitate to voice and convey them, as is the case everywhere in the world. For example, the Knesset is discussing a bill that could reinstate the death penalty. We know that in principle we are strongly against the death penalty.“
Borrell, “The European Parliament has full mandate to discuss the internal dynamics in Israel, to understand what is happening there in terms of our perception of our values and interests in the region. There is nothing strange about it. It cannot be seen as an intervention, it can be seen as a way to show our interest and appreciation for Israeli democracy.” he evaluated.
Criticism of unlawful treatment in the West Bank
EU High Representative Borrell stated the following about the settlements:
“We’ve been open about it, and I’ll be clear once again. Settlements are illegal under international law. Is saying that being anti-Israeli? No. Residential expansion must be stopped, as well as Palestinians’ demolition and evacuation of their homes. The Israeli government must seriously counter the violence of settler extremists and hold the perpetrators accountable. Military operations must be proportionate and in accordance with international humanitarian law.“
call to Palestine
Borrell stated that the Palestinian administration also bears some responsibilities and said:
“They should redouble their efforts in terms of security cooperation and work to prevent acts of terrorism that have claimed the lives of many Israelis. It is equally important for Palestinians to work towards reconciliation in order to reunite the Palestinian territories under a single legitimate authority. Palestinian groups should be involved constructively in reconciliation talks. The Palestinian people deserve the right to vote in national democratic elections to renew the legitimacy of their leadership. This is also important for future peace talks.“
In a written statement from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the following statements were included regarding the phone conversations between Cohen and Borrell:
“Cohen wanted any attempt to interfere in the internal political affairs of the state of Israel to be blocked. The EU’s interference in Israel’s internal affairs and funding of Palestinians must now stop,” Cohen said.