Federica Mogherini with PM Netanyahu
Federica Mogherini with PM Netanyahu Photo: GPO

The European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini criticized Israel on Tuesday as she participated in a conference in Brussels of the International Donor Group for Palestine.

25 years after the Oslo Accords, said Mogherini, “the very possibility of two states is being dismantled. Settlement expansion continues while international mechanisms that protect the Palestinians in occupied territory are forcefully removed. Ongoing Palestinian divisions continue to harm Palestinian unity and democracy. The political dialogue between the two parties is simply non-existent at the moment, while in both societies, both in Palestine and in Israel, we see that the space for faith in the possibility of peace and security and a two-state solution is shrinking.”

“In this not so encouraging environment,” she continued, “some are suggesting to give up on the two-state solution altogether. But the two-state solution remains the only realistic way forward. In this context I would like to stress three points that are our guiding principles and priorities, as the European Union, but I believe also in this meeting today.”

Israel in recent days asked the EU to increase its investment in the Palestinian Authority (PA), in light of claims that the PA is on the brink of economic collapse because it is unwilling to accept the tax revenues that Israel collects for it due to the fact that Israel is offsetting the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families.

Mogherini said that the EU accepted Israel’s request, noting that “the European Union is and will remain the biggest and the most reliable donor to the Palestinians. European Union assistance to Palestinians has been more than €300 million every year for the last 15 years.”

“This support will continue, because Palestinians have the right to live in dignity and because we Europeans know very well that this money is an investment in security for the Palestinians, for the Israelis, for the region and for ourselves,” she continued.

“This is why today the European Union announces over €22 million of additional humanitarian assistance in support of the most vulnerable people in Gaza and in the West Bank,” stated Mogherini.

At the same time, she clarified, “Our economic assistance to the Palestinians cannot be separated from this political objective of the two-state solution. I want to be clear about this: a political two-state solution cannot be substituted by endless technical and financial assistance and capacity building. It would simply not work.”