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Katz, Arab FMs to attend meeting of EU top diplomats

The Israeli foreign minister is traveling to Brussels to stress the need to destroy Hamas and secure the freedom of all hostages held in Gaza.

Israel Katz attends the Energy Conference in Tel Aviv, March 13, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
Israel Katz attends the Energy Conference in Tel Aviv, March 13, 2023. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz will address the Council of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, which brings together the top diplomats of all 27 E.U. member states. His counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt will also attend, in addition to representatives of the Palestinian Authority and Arab League.

Katz is traveling to Brussels to stress the need to destroy the Hamas terrorist organization and secure the freedom of the hostages still being held captive in the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem said in a statement.

“We are continuing a diplomatic campaign to support the heroic IDF soldiers and defeat Hamas,” said Katz, according to the statement. “At the meetings, I will work to mobilize the E.U. to exert pressure to secure the return of the hostages, take action against Hamas, and advance economic projects that will transform the region and counter Iran.”

Israel’s top diplomat is also scheduled to hold individual meetings with his counterparts from France, Greece, Austria, Croatia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark and the Czech Republic, as well as with Josep Borrell, the E.U.’s high representative for foreign affairs, and other officials.

Katz said he would present strategic plans and projects to promote regional stability, including the “Tracks for Regional Peace” project, linking Haifa to the Saudi Gulf port of Damman, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

During the meeting on Monday, Borrell will reveal his 10-point plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state in Gaza, Judea and Samaria, the Brussels-based Euractiv news service reported on Saturday.

“In view of the current situation and despite the evident difficulties and uncertainties, the time to prepare for comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace is now,” reads the introduction of a draft paper, as seen by Euractiv.

“It is unrealistic to assume that Israelis and Palestinians…will in the near future directly engage in bilateral peace negotiations to achieve comprehensive peace, let alone conclude such negotiations, without strong international involvement,” added the document.

An international peace conference hosted by the European Union would seek to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and create an “initial framework” for an independent Palestinian state controlled by the P.A. within one year.

According to a poll released last year, 72 percent of Palestinians support establishing a “unity government” that includes both P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas terrorists. Only around 8.5% said they favor a government controlled exclusively by Fatah.

Earlier this month, Borrell demanded that the international community impose a “solution” to the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorists, saying that “what we have learned over the last 30 years, and what we are learning now with the tragedy experienced in Gaza, is that the solution must be imposed from outside.”

Members of the 27-nation bloc have been deeply divided on the war against Hamas, and the foreign ministers gathering in Brussels on Monday are unlikely to unanimously support Borrell’s proposal.

Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and wounded thousands in the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel’s northwestern Negev region. In addition, terrorists took some 240 people hostage.

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