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Monday, December 10, 2012
Text: Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process (includes mention of unacceptable Hamas statements)

The European Union calls on the Palestinian leadership...not to undertake
steps which would deepen the lack of trust and lead further away from a
negotiated solution.

The EU finds inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel's
right to exist unacceptable.

Council conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process
3209th FOREIGN AFFAIRS Council meeting
Brussels, 10 December 2012

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

"1. In light of recent developments and taking into account previous
Council Conclusions, the European Union firmly believes that now is the time
to take bold and concrete steps towards peace. The parties must engage in
direct and substantial negotiations without pre-conditions in order to
achieve a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ending all

2. The European Union reaffirms its position that clear parameters
outlining the basis for negotiations are key elements for a successful
outcome. All parties must avoid acts which undermine confidence and the
viability of a two-state solution. The European Union underlines the urgency
of renewed, structured and substantial peace efforts in 2013 and, towards
this end, it is ready to work with the US and other international partners,
including within the Quartet. There will be no sustainable peace until the
Palestinians' aspirations for statehood and sovereignty and those of
Israelis for security are fulfilled through a comprehensive negotiated peace
based on the two-state solution. The European Union recalls that the Arab
Peace Initiative provides regional support for a comprehensive Israeli-
Palestinian peace agreement. The European Union will work with those who are
willing to join in such a quest for peace, stability and prosperity.

3. The European Union is deeply dismayed by and strongly opposes
Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank, including in East
Jerusalem, and in particular plans to develop the E1 area. The E1 plan, if
implemented, would seriously undermine the prospects of a negotiated
resolution of the conflict by jeopardizing the possibility of a contiguous
and viable Palestinian state and of Jerusalem as the future capital of two
states. It could also entail forced transfer of civilian population. In the
light of its core objective of achieving the two-state solution, the EU will
closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and act
accordingly. The European Union reiterates that settlements are illegal
under international law and constitute an obstacle to peace.

4. Recalling its parameters for the resumption of negotiations between
the parties, as set out in previous Council Conclusions, including in
December 2009, December 2010 and May 2011, the European Union reiterates
that it will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including
with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties. The
European Union expresses its commitment to ensure that – in line with
international law – all agreements between the State of Israel and the
European Union must unequivocally and
explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by
Israel in 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the West Bank including East
Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Recalling its Foreign Affairs Council
Conclusions adopted in May 2012, the European Union and its Member States
reiterate their commitment to ensure continued, full and effective
implementation of existing European Union legislation and bilateral
arrangements applicable to settlement products.

5. The European Union calls on Israel to avoid any step undermining the
financial situation of the Palestinian Authority. Any such action by Israel
would undermine existing cooperation mechanisms between Israel and the
Palestinian Authority and thus negatively affect the prospects of
negotiations. Contractual obligations, notably under the Paris Protocol,
regarding full, timely, predictable and transparent transfer of tax and
custom revenues have to be respected.

6. On 29 November, the UN General Assembly voted in favour of
resolution A/RES/67/19 on the granting of non-member observer State status
in the United Nations to Palestine. The European Union calls on the
Palestinian leadership to use constructively this new status and not to
undertake steps which would deepen the lack of trust and lead further away
from a negotiated solution.

7. The European Union welcomes the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and
Israel which followed several days of intense violence and commends the
efforts of Egypt and all those who engaged in mediation. This tragic
escalation of hostilities underlined very clearly the unsustainable nature
of the status quo with regard to the situation in the Gaza Strip. Fully
recognising Israel's legitimate security needs, the European Union
reiterates its call for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening
of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons
to and from the Gaza Strip, the situation of which is unsustainable as long
as it remains politically and economically separated from the West
Bank. It is vital that all parts of the ceasefire agreement are implemented.
The European Union is committed to facilitating the social and economic
development of the Gaza Strip. Equally, the issue of illegal weapons’
transfer into the Gaza Strip has to be effectively addressed as a matter of
urgency. The European Union expresses its readiness to make use of its
instruments in support of the parties’ efforts, including the possible
reactivation, in the appropriate way, of the EUBAM Rafah mission. The
European Union underlines its readiness to explore further ways to address
the situation in the Gaza Strip, including with concerned parties in the
region , in line with UNSC Resolution 1860 (2009).

8. The European Union reiterates its call for intra-Palestinian
reconciliation behind the strong leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, in
line with the principles set out in his speech of 4 May 2011, as an
important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state and for
reaching a two-state solution.

9. The European Union reiterates its fundamental commitment to the
security of Israel, including with regard to vital threats in the region.
The European Union will never stop opposing those who embrace and promote
violence as a way to achieve political goals. The EU finds inflammatory
statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel's right to exist unacceptable.
The European Union will never cease its efforts to combat terrorism which
seeks to undermine the openness and tolerance of societies through
indiscriminate acts of violence against civilians.

10. It is in the fundamental interest of the European Union to support
peace and democracy in the entire region and a strategic priority to see an
end to this conflict which will continue to undermine peace and security
along the EU southern borders, as long as it remains unresolved."

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