EU foreign ministers call for multilateral solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

European Union (EU) flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels. Credit: Amio Cajander via Wikimedia Commons.

( The European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, which is comprised of 28 EU foreign ministers, on Monday issued a resolution calling for a multilateral solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Recalling the “spirit” of the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference, the European ministers called for “the establishment of an International Support Group and a further international conference are both possible ways to contribute.”

The resolution, however, also criticized Israeli policy in Judea and Samaria. Calling Israeli settlements an “obstacle to peace,” the EU said it “reiterates its strong opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, demolitions, and confiscation—including of EU-funded projects—evictions, forced transfers including of Bedouins, illegal outposts, and restrictions of movement and access.”

Despite the tough language, much of the text was similar to previous EU resolutions on the subject and was apparently a toned-down version of previous draft resolutions, which had called for a “distinction” to be made between Israel and territory located beyond the 1967 lines.

Greece, the Czech Republic, and Hungary were instrumental in toning down the tougher language on Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported. 

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the language was softened thanks to “diplomatic and political efforts by Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and the Foreign Ministry,” but still criticized the EU for holding Israel to a “double standard” that prevents the Jewish state from being an “honest broker” in negotiations.

The EU “continues to employ a double standard with Israel, while ignoring the PA’s (Palestinian Authority) responsibility for the diplomatic stalemate as well as its incitement, which is feeding the wave of terrorism,” said the ministry.

Posted on January 18, 2016 .