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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 December 2012


Division for Palestinian Rights


DEVELOPMENTS RELATED TO THE MIDDLE EAST

PEACE PROCESS

Issue 27 • January-December 2012



Conclusions of the European Council on the Middle East peace process
Brussels, 23 January 2012

·
Statement by OIC on Doha Declaration on Palestinian Reconciliation
Jeddah, 7 February 2012
·
Statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
on Israeli settlement approvals
Brussels, 22 February 2012
·
Statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
on the closure of two Palestinian television stations
Brussels, 3 March 2012
·
Readout of the US President Obama’s call with Palestinian Authority President Abbas
Washington D.C., 19 March 2012
·
Chair’s Summary on the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee
Brussels, 21 March 2012
·
Statement of the Chair of the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting
Washington D.C., 12 April 2012
·
Statement by local EU missions on the eviction of the An-Natsha family in Beit Hanina, East-Jerusalem
Jerusalem, 21 April 2012
·
Statement by local EU missions on Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike
Jerusalem, 8 May 2012
·
Conclusions of the European Council on the Middle East Peace Process
Brussels, 14 May 2012
·
Statement by UK Foreign Secretary Hague on Israeli settlement announcement
London, 8 June 2012
·
Chair’s Summary on the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee
New York, 23 September 2012
·
Statement by local EU missions on the holding of Palestinian local elections
Jerusalem, 24 October 2012
·
Statement by the EU High Representative on escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel
Brussels, 12 November 2012
·
Statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the admission of Palestine
by the General Assembly as a non-Member State of the United Nations
Jerusalem, 29 November 2012
·
Statement by the EU High Representative on the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Brussels, 21 November 2012
·
Statement by the EU High Representative on Israeli settlement announcements
Brussels, 2 December 2012
·
Press Statement by the EU members of the Security Council on Israeli settlements
New York, 19 December 2012

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European Council Conclusions on the Middle East peace process
Brussels, 23 January 2012

On 23 January 2012, the European Council adopted the following conclusions:

1. The EU welcomes the efforts by Jordan to facilitate direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians as part of the Quartet process. The EU calls on both parties to come forward with comprehensive proposals on borders and security, as envisaged in the Quartet statement on 23 September. A bold and decisive demonstration of political leadership is needed from both sides to encourage the momentum and ensure real progress.

2. Against the backdrop of worrying developments on the ground in 2011, particularly with regard to settlements, the EU reaffirms its commitment to a two state solution: The legitimacy of the State of Israel and the right of Palestinians to achieve statehood must never be called into question. The viability of the two state solution must be preserved. The EU will continue to reinforce efforts towards resolving the conflict through its contribution to the Quartet, its continued partnership with Israel, and its support for the Palestinian Authority's state-building efforts. The EU reaffirms its clear positions on negotiations, with regard to parameters, principles and issues, including the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council in December 2009, December 2010, May, July and October 2011 as well as the statement delivered on behalf of the EU at the UN Security Council on 21 April 2011.

3. The EU stresses the central role of the Quartet and backs the Quartet process to reach an agreement between the parties not later than by the end of 2012. The EU fully supports the High Representative in her continued efforts to create a credible perspective for the relaunching of the peace process. The EU reiterates its support to the Arab Peace Initiative.

4. The EU calls on the parties to demonstrate their commitment to a peaceful solution and to the Quartet process by actions that can build confidence and create an environment of trust necessary to ensure meaningful negotiations, leading to a comprehensive and lasting peace.

5. The EU welcomes the appointment of the new EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process."


OIC statement on Doha Declaration on Palestinian Reconciliation
Jeddah, 7 February 2012

On 7 February 2012, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation issued the following press-release:
The Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has welcomed the Doha Declaration on Palestinian national reconciliation which was signed yesterday by the Fatah and Hamas movements. He expressed the hope that the provisions of the agreement on forming a national unity government and other issues that would consolidate national unity and contribute to the realization of the aspirations and yearnings of the Palestinian people would be implemented.

The Secretary General noted that it was necessary to implement the Declaration in order to mobilize support for the Palestinian cause in the international arena. He also commended the State of Qatar for patronizing this important achievement and the Arab Republic of Egypt for its efforts in bringing about Palestinian reconciliation.


Statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
on Israeli settlement approvals
Brussels, 22 February 2012
The spokesperson of High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton issued the following statement on 22 February 2012:

The High Representative is deeply concerned by the approval on 22 February by the Israeli Civil Administration of new construction in the settlements of Shvut Rachel and Shilo as well as the retrospective approval granted for housing units already built.

Settlements are illegal under international law. In addition the Quartet Roadmap states that Israel should not only freeze all settlement activity, but also dismantle those settlements erected since March 2001. It is particularly important at this point that neither party in the Middle East peace process undertakes provocative actions which undermine the prospects for continuing the dialogue which was re-established in January.

The High Representative calls on Israel to respect its obligations under the Roadmap and reverse this decision.


Statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
on the closure of two Palestinian television stations
Brussels, 3 March 2012
On 3 March 2012, the spokesperson of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton issued the following statement:

The High Representative is deeply concerned by the incursion into Ramallah by Israeli security forces to seize equipment from the Palestinian television stations, Wattan TV and Al Quds Educational TV.
Incursions by Israeli forces into Palestinian cities where the Palestinian Authority, under the Oslo Accords, assumes the powers and responsibilities for internal security and public order is a breach of those accords and puts in jeopardy the internationally recognized success of Palestinian institution building efforts. The European Union has worked with both stations, which have been broadcasting for many years.
The Oslo Accords established an Israeli-Palestinian Joint Technical Committee to address any issues arising in the telecommunications field. The High Representative calls on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to use this mechanism to urgently resolve any issues concerning broadcasts by these companies.


Readout of the US President Obama’s call with Palestinian Authority President Abbas
Washington D.C., 19 March 2012

On 19 March 2012, the Office of the White House Press Secretary issued for immediate release the readout of the call by US President Obama with the President of the Palestinian Authority Abbas. The text of the readout is reproduced below:

President Obama called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas this morning to discuss a range of issues of mutual interest. The President reaffirmed America’s commitment to Middle East Peace and to the overall objectives outlined by the Quartet. The President noted the positive efforts by King Abdullah of Jordan and his Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh to advance dialogue between the parties. The President also noted the need for all parties to reinforce the efforts that have brought an end to the recent fighting and thanked President Abbas for his contributions in that regard. The two leaders agreed on the necessity of the two-state solution, and President Obama noted that Jordan’s efforts to foster direct discussions between Israel and the Palestinians are an important contribution to the cause of peace. They also discussed the ongoing need to build trust between the parties and for all sides to refrain from provocative actions that make it more difficult to build such trust. They agreed to remain in close contact about these important issues.


Chair’s Summary on the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee
Brussels, 21 March 2012

The following press release was issued at the conclusion of the Brussels meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, in which AHLS members and donors reconfirmed their assessment of the state readiness of the Palestinian Authority regarding the institutions studied:

AHLC members and other major donor countries met in Brussels today. The meeting was hosted by the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton. The Chair, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, commended the participants, in particular the Palestinians and the Israelis, for their spirit of cooperation and their positive contributions to the deliberations.
The AHLC reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to the vision of an independent, democratic and sovereign state of Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security, as well as their strong support for negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in full compliance with Road Map obligations.

Based on reports and recommendations from the parties, the UN, the World Bank, the IMF and the Quartet Representative to this meeting in Brussels, the donors reconfirmed their assessment of the state readiness of the Palestinian Authority regarding the institutions studied, and focused their further discussions on the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal sustainability and economic viability.

After three consecutive years of progress in the quality and functioning of the institutions, high levels of growth, improved living conditions and security in the West Bank, and revival of hope for the people, the Palestinian Authority experienced a slow-down in 2011. The economy grew at a slower rate, which can be attributed to falling donor support combined with the uncertainty caused by the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal crisis, as well as insufficient easing of Israeli restrictions.

At the beginning of 2012, the Palestinian Authority experienced a severe fiscal crisis, which threatens to become protracted given the recent and projected declines in donor assistance. The Palestinian Authority is making a concerted effort to strengthen its fiscal position, including taking steps to raise domestic revenues and control expenditures. However, these efforts will not be successful unless they are supported by actions of the Government of Israel and the donors.

Donors recognized that the Palestinian Authority simply cannot succeed in reducing the projected recurrent deficit to the currently expected levels of aid through solely its own actions. Therefore, in the short-term, it is imperative that additional donor funding be identified and transferred immediately to reverse the crisis before it becomes totally unmanageable.

Ultimately, sustainable economic growth and an end to the fiscal crisis will require greater realization of the Palestinian private sector’s potential. This can be achieved both by (1) relaxing Israeli restrictions on access to land, water, a range of raw materials, and export markets, and by (2) improvements by the Palestinian Authority in its business environment and ability to attract needed investment. Donors also expressed their concern about access to economic activity in the Area C, which constitutes the major land area for the Palestinians, and emphasised that greater economic potential will be achieved when access is assured.

The AHLC expressed concern for the situation in the Gaza Strip and reiterated its full commitment to the UN Security Council resolution 1860, including for the need for security for all civil populations. It welcomed that sustained recovery and high levels of growth in Gaza translate into higher employment and improved living conditions – even if the figures indicate, in part, the low base from which the growth started. A lasting recovery in Gaza will require a further increase in exports and private sector imports of investment inputs, as well as lifting restrictions on the legitimate passage of people.

On this basis the AHLC:
- calls on donors to ensure the contribution of 1 billion USD in assistance to meet the recurrent financing requirements for the PA in 2012 with due regard to burden sharing, and to commit to continuing provision of adequate and predictable funding for recurrent costs through the transitional period;
- welcomes the PA’s decision to persevere with the structural reforms, widening of the tax base and maintaining fiscal discipline as an orderly path to self-reliance;

- welcomes the ongoing talks to make the clearance revenue mechanism more efficient and transparent, and urges for a swift conclusion and implementation of improvements needed, as well as calls on the GoI to ensure monthly transfers to the PA in a predictable manner;
- calls on GOI to facilitate sustainable growth of the Palestinian economy – one that is underpinned by a vibrant private sector – by taking further steps to improve movement of people and goods, development, and trade and exports in the West Bank and Gaza, including in Area C and East-Jerusalem;
- while welcoming the increase in building materials for infrastructure development and housing allowed into Gaza, calls for increased efforts, including implementation of long-term solutions to the water issues and finalization of plans for establishing production capacity for the medium-term water supply;
- calls on the Joint Liaison Committee to intensify its efforts to facilitate tripartite coordination locally with a view to ensuring effective progress on the ground; and
- agrees to reconvene in New York in September 2012 in conjunction with the UN General Assembly, and welcomes the invitation by the EU to reconvene in Brussels in the spring of 2013.

Statement of the Chair of the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting
Washington D.C., 12 April 2012

On 12 April 2012, the Chair of the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting, which was held in Washington, D.C. on 11-12 April 2012, made a statement, the excerpts of which are reproduced below:
/...

Middle East Peace

The Ministers noted the Quartet Principals meeting which was held in Washington on April 11. They expressed support for the broader Quartet’s efforts and welcomed the leadership of the Jordanian Government in advancing dialogue between the parties. The Ministers reiterate their support for all elements of the Quartet’s September 23, 2011 statement and confirm their commitment to a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The Ministers stressed that a long-term solution to this conflict can be achieved only through direct negotiations, on the basis of the September 23, 2011 statement of the Middle East Quartet. Ministers called on parties to refrain from unilateral actions and to create an atmosphere conducive to peace. They strongly reaffirm that unilateral actions by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations. The Ministers call on the parties to continue dialogue and implement measures that build trust and improve the climate for negotiations. In light of the fundamental changes across the Arab world, Ministers noted the importance for a political settlement that will benefit the Palestinian people and safeguard Israel’s security. The Ministers also acknowledged the positive steps taken over the past year by the Palestinian Authority to prepare its institutions for statehood. Noting the March 21st Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting in Brussels, they called on the international community to ensure the contribution of $1.1 billion in assistance to meet the Palestinian Authority’s 2012 recurrent financing requirements. They also called on the Government of Israel to support the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal stability and to facilitate sustainable growth of the Palestinian economy by taking further meaningful steps to improve movement of people and goods, development, and trade and exports in the West Bank and Gaza.

/...

Statement by local EU missions on the eviction of the An-Natsha family in Beit Hanina,
East-Jerusalem
Jerusalem, 21 April 2012

The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah on 21 April 2012 made the following statement:
The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah condemn the eviction of the An-Natsha family from their home in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina on 18 April.

Moreover, EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah are deeply concerned by the plans to build a new settlement in the midst of this traditional Palestinian neighbourhood. Settlements are illegal under international law. The EU further recalls Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states that “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”. The international community has repeatedly called upon Israel to cease settlement activity.


Statement by local EU missions on Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike
Jerusalem, 8 May 2012

The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah on 8 May 2012 made the following statement:

The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah are concerned about the deteriorating health condition of the Palestinians held in administrative detention in Israel who have been on hunger strike for more than two months. The EU requests the Government of Israel to make available all necessary medical assistance and to allow family visits as a matter of urgency.

The EU reiterates its long-standing position on the use by Israel of administrative detention without charge. Detainees have the right to be informed of the reasons for their detention and be subject to a fair trial without undue delay.

The EU is also following closely the on-going hunger strike by several hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, and calls for the full respect of international human rights obligations towards all prisoners.


Conclusions of the European Council on the Middle East Peace Process
Brussels, 14 May 2012

At the European Council’s 3166th meeting on Foreign Affairs, the Council adopted the following conclusions:

1. The EU reaffirms its commitment to a two-state solution and its conviction that the ongoing changes across the Arab world make the need for progress on the Middle East peace process all the more urgent. Heeding the aspirations of the people in the region, including those of Palestinians for statehood and those of Israelis for security is a crucial element for lasting peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

2. Ending the conflict is a fundamental interest of the EU as well as of the parties themselves and the wider region, and it can be achieved through a comprehensive peace agreement, based on the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, the Madrid principles including land for peace, the Roadmap, the agreements previously reached by the parties and the Arab Peace Initiative. The EU recalls the applicability of international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including the applicability of the fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilians.

3. The EU welcomes the exchange of letters between the parties initiated on 17 April, following the Quartet efforts facilitated by King Abdullah of Jordan and Foreign Minister Judeh and encourages the parties to continue on this path. The EU welcomes Prime Minister Netanyahu's statement that the new Israeli government will try to advance the peace process. It stands ready to support the resumption of substantive negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians with a view to achieving a two-state solution. The EU strongly urges both sides to build on the current contacts, including the Joint Statement of 12 May, to resume direct negotiations on the basis of the Quartet statement of 23 September 2011. The EU fully supports the Quartet statement of 11 April and calls on the parties to pursue actions conducive to an environment of confidence necessary to ensure meaningful negotiations, to refrain from actions that undermine the credibility of the process and to prevent incitement.

4. The EU and its Member States reiterate their fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, including with regard to vital threats in the region. The EU is appalled by recurring rocket attacks from Gaza and condemns in the strongest terms violence deliberately targeting civilians. The EU reiterates its call on all partners in the region for the effective prevention of arms smuggling into Gaza.

5. The viability of a two-state-solution must be maintained. The EU expresses deep concern about developments on the ground which threaten to make a two-state solution impossible:

- the marked acceleration of settlement construction following the end of the 2010 moratorium, the recent decision of the government of Israel regarding the status of some settlements outposts as well as the proposal to relocate settlers from Migron within the occupied Palestinian territory, while all outposts erected since March 2001 should be dismantled, according to the Roadmap.

- in East-Jerusalem the ongoing evictions and house demolitions, changes to the residency status of Palestinians, the expansion of Givat Hamatos and Har Homa, and the prevention of peaceful Palestinian cultural, economic, social or political activities.

- the worsening living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C and serious limitations for the PA to promote the economic development of Palestinian communities in Area C, as well as plans of forced transfer of the Bedouin communities, in particular from the wider E1 area.

- the risk of jeopardising the major achievements of the Palestinian Authority in state-building if the current financial difficulties are not addressed by a common effort of the PA, Israel and donors.

6. Concerning these developments, the EU reiterates its positions and determination to contribute to maintaining the viability of the two-state-solution in accordance with international law and its positions, including the conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in December 2009, December 2010 and May 2011:

- Settlements remain illegal under international law, irrespective of recent decisions by the Government of Israel. The EU 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 EU and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to fully and effectively implement existing EU legislation and the bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. The Council underlines the importance of the work being carried out together with the Commission in this regard.

- The EU reiterates that a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states. Until then, the EU calls for an equitable provision of resources and investment to the city’s population. The EU calls for the reopening of Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem in accordance with the Roadmap.

- Social and economic developments in Area C are of critical importance for the viability of a future Palestinian state, as Area C is its main land reserve. The EU calls upon Israel to meet its obligations regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C, including by accelerated approval of Palestinian master plans, halting forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure, simplifying administrative procedures to obtain building permits, ensuring access to water and addressing humanitarian needs. The EU calls upon Israel to work together with the PA to allow more access and control of the PA over Area C. The EU will continue to provide financial assistance for Palestinian development in Area C and expects such investment to be protected for future use. The EU will engage with the Government of Israel to work out improved mechanisms for the implementation of the donor funded projects for the benefit of the Palestinian population in Area C.

- The EU is the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority. It notes that the majority of the Palestinian Authority’s budget is met by its own customs and tax revenues and therefore it urges for swift implementation of improvements, currently discussed between the parties, to the mechanism by which these are collected and transferred, which should be transparent and predictable. The European Union underlines that these transfers by Israel are an obligation under the Paris Protocol. The EU calls on the PA to continue pursuing reforms. The EU calls on other donors, especially donors in the region, to increase their financial support to the Palestinian Authority.

7. The EU expresses deep concern regarding settler extremism and incitement by settlers in the West Bank. The EU condemns continuous settler violence and deliberate provocations against Palestinian civilians. It calls on the government of Israel to bring the perpetrators to justice and to comply with its obligations under international law.

8. The EU remains committed to the Palestinian state building process, including through CSDP missions and within the Quartet, aiming at a Palestinian state based on the rule of law and respect of human rights. The EU is concerned about recent reports of arrests of journalists and underlines the importance of freedom of expression, including via traditional and new media. In this regard, it welcomes President Abbas' instructions to lift the ban on several websites, as indicated in the official Palestinian communiqué. Recalling the Palestinian institutions' responsibility under the Roadmap to end incitement, the EU expresses concern for recent incidents of incitement in Palestinian media and elsewhere.

9. The European Union has consistently called for intra-Palestinian reconciliation behind 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. In this regard, it recalls its Council Conclusion in May 2011. The EU looks forward to the holding of elections as an important contribution to Palestinian state-building.

10. Fully recognising Israel's legitimate security needs, the EU continues to 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 separated from the West Bank. Despite limited progress, the EU urges the government of Israel to take further meaningful and far-reaching steps allowing for the reconstruction and economic recovery of the Gaza Strip, including by allowing trade with the West Bank and Israel.
Statement by UK Foreign Secretary Hague on Israeli settlement announcement
London, 8 June 2012

On 8 June 2012, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Israel’s announcement authorising new settlement units across the West Bank and urged the Israeli Government to change its approach. The full text of the statement follows:

I condemn the announcement by Israel to authorise the building of 851 new settlement units across the West Bank. While we appreciate the Israeli Government’s efforts to avoid damaging legislation in the Israeli Knesset by voting against a bill to legalise West Bank outposts, the decision to move settlers from an illegal outpost by creating housing units in settlements elsewhere across the Green Line sets a dangerous precedent. Such outposts are illegal under both Israeli and international law and should be removed entirely.

The British Government, and our EU partners, have made it consistently clear that settlement construction is illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and should stop immediately - in line with Israel’s own commitment under the 2003 Roadmap. Continued systematic settlement activity, and repeated breaches by the Israeli Government of international law, is provocative, undermines the prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and makes the two-State solution ever harder to realise. It makes it increasingly difficult for Israel’s international friends to defend the Israeli Government's actions.

I urge the Israeli Government to change its approach, to meet its international obligations fully and for both sides to engage constructively in the search for peace.

Chair’s Summary on the meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee
New York, 23 September 2012

The following press release was issued at the conclusion of the New York meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, in which AHLS member and donors reaffirmed their strong commitment to the vision of an independent, democratic and sovereign state of Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security:

AHLC members and other major donor countries met in New York today. The meeting was hosted by the UN and Under-Secretary General Jeffrey Feltman. The Chair, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, commended the participants, in particular the Palestinians and the Israelis, for their spirit of cooperation and their positive contributions to the deliberations.

The AHLC reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to the vision of an independent, democratic and sovereign state of Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security, as well as their strong support for negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in full compliance with Road Map obligations.

Based on reports and recommendations from the parties, the UN, the World Bank, the IMF and the Quartet Representative to this meeting in New York, the donors reconfirmed their assessment of the state readiness of the Palestinian Authority regarding the institutions studied, and focused their further discussions on the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal sustainability and economic viability.

After three consecutive years of progress in the quality and functioning of the institutions, high levels of growth, improved living conditions and security in the West Bank, the economy grew at a slower rate. This slow-down can be attributed to falling donor support combined with the uncertainty caused by the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal crisis, as well as insufficient easing of Israeli restrictions. The reports to this meeting show that the economic benefits from reforms alone are reaching their potential.

During 2012, the Palestinian Authority is experiencing a severe fiscal crisis, due to shortfalls in domestic revenues, tax income, and donor contributions. It may face a financing gap of at least USD 400 million at the end of the year. Donors welcomed the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to strengthen its fiscal position, including taking the steps to raise domestic revenues and control expenditures. They noted the urgent need for additional support from donors to be disbursed immediately.

The donors also acknowledged the Israeli efforts to help alleviate the situation as outlined in the Israeli report, including by advancing transfers of clearance revenues. They welcomed the understanding reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on enhancing trade and clearance revenue collection.

Donors recognized that the Palestinian Authority cannot succeed in reducing the projected recurrent deficit to the currently expected levels of aid solely through its own actions. The reports to this meeting note that restrictions to the Palestinian economy are limiting the prospects for reaching sustainability.

Progress in strengthening the Palestinian Economy depends on further removal of obstacles to trade and market access in support of private sector development. In addition, it is important that all available Palestinian resources are further mobilized in a transparent, accountable and responsible way in order to overcome the current crisis.

Ultimately, sustainable economic growth and an end to the fiscal crisis will require greater realization of the Palestinian private sector’s potential. This can be achieved by relaxing Israeli restrictions on access to land, water, a range of raw materials, and export markets, and by further improvements by the Palestinian Authority in its business environment and ability to attract needed investment. Donors expressed their concern about access to economic activity in Area C, which constitutes the major land area for the Palestinians, and emphasized that greater economic potential will be achieved when access is assured.

The AHLC expressed concern for the situation in the Gaza Strip and reiterated its full commitment to the UN Security Council resolution 1860, including for the need for security for all civil populations. It took note of the predictions that the high levels of economic growth may come to an end soon. A lasting recovery in Gaza will require a further increase in exports and private sector imports of investment inputs, as well as lifting restrictions on the legitimate passage of people.

On this basis the AHLC:

- calls on donors to address the short-term fiscal crisis of the PA by disbursing outstanding commitments, and to increase their contributions for 2012 to match the need;

- calls on donors to remain committed to our vision of a future two-state solution, and to continue providing assistance to meet the recurrent financing requirements for the PA to help make the transition towards economic independence for a Palestinian state, with due regard to burden sharing;

- welcomes the PA’s decision to continue to reform and improve its institutions, so as to align revenues and disbursements and further enhance the business environment ,as an orderly path to future self-reliance;

- welcomes the understanding on enhancing the trade and clearance collection, calls on the parties for a swift implementation of the improvements needed, and expresses its readiness to assist in supporting this implementation;

- calls on the GOI to facilitate sustainable growth of the Palestinian economy – one that is underpinned by a vibrant private sector – by taking further and broader steps to improve movement of people and goods, development, and trade and exports in the West Bank and Gaza, including in Area C and East-Jerusalem;

- welcoming the increase in building materials for infrastructure development and housing allowed into Gaza, calls for increased efforts, including implementation of medium and long-term solutions to the water supply;

- calls on the Joint Liaison Committee to resume efforts to facilitate coordination locally with a view to ensuring effective progress on the ground; and

- agrees to reconvene in Brussels in March 2013 on invitation by the EU

Statement by local EU missions on the holding of Palestinian local elections
Jerusalem, 24 October 2012

On 24 October 2012, the EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah issued the following statement:

The EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah welcome the Palestinian local elections held on 20 October and commend the work of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission.

The EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah had the opportunity to visit polling stations across the West Bank. The elections were well organized and took place in a peaceful atmosphere. The EU considers the holding of elections as an important contribution to Palestinian state-building and looks forward to future elections across the occupied Palestinian territory.

The Norwegian Representative Office aligns itself with the above statement.




Statement by the EU High Representative on escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel
Brussels, 12 November 2012

The following statement was issued on 12 November 2012 by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission:

I am very concerned by the latest escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel.

I condemn the firing of rockets and mortars into Israel, and call on both sides to refrain from exacerbating the situation. Further regrettable loss of life and injury must be avoided.

I support the mediation efforts by Egypt and reiterate that there is no place for violence in the Middle East. It is only through resumed negotiations that the legitimate aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis will be met, through a two-state solution.



Statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the admission of Palestine by the General Assembly as a non-Member State of the United Nations
Jerusalem, 29 November 2012

The following statement was communicated by the Israeli Prime Minister's Media Adviser following the admission of Palestine by the General Assembly as a non-Member State of the United Nations through the adoption of the UN GA Resolution 67/19. Status of Palestine in the United Nations:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Thursday, 29 November 2012), at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, made the following statement:

"Israel is prepared to live in peace with a Palestinian state, but for peace to endure, Israel's security must be protected. The Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state and they must be prepared to end the conflict with Israel once and for all.

None of these vital interests, these vital interests of peace, none of them appear in the resolution that will be put forward before the General Assembly today and that is why Israel cannot accept it. The only way to achieve peace is through agreements that are reached by the parties directly; through valid negotiations between themselves, and not through UN resolutions that completely ignore Israel’s vital security and national interests. And because this resolution is so one-sided, it doesn’t advance peace, it pushes it backwards.

As for the rights of the Jewish people in this land, I have a simple message for those people gathered in the General Assembly today: No decision by the UN can break the 4000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel."




Statement by the EU High Representative on the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Brussels, 21 November 2012

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement on 21 November 2012:

I welcome the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and Israel. I commend in particular the efforts of Egypt and all those who engaged in mediating between the parties to secure this ceasefire. The European Union will continue its efforts to ensure a sustainable solution to the present situation in the Gaza Strip. This is crucial for ending all violence and enhancing security in the region.



Statement by the EU High Representative on Israeli settlement announcements
Brussels, 2 December 2012

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement on 2 December 2012:

I am extremely concerned by reports of the Israeli government's announcement regarding the construction of approximately 3000 new housing units in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. The European Union has repeatedly stated that all settlement construction is illegal under international law and constitutes an obstacle to peace.

“On Thursday, speaking on behalf of the European Union as a whole and ahead of the decision of the UN General Assembly to accord Observer State status to Palestine, I urged both parties to work towards the resumption of direct negotiations without delay or preconditions. I called on all involved to pursue actions which could build confidence, not undermine it.

“I am therefore extremely worried by the prospects of settlement expansion on such a scale. The reaction of the international community to any such decision is likely also to be influenced by the extent to which such expansion may represent a strategic step undermining the prospects of a contiguous and viable Palestine with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both it and Israel.

“I repeat my call on Thursday to Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas to work towards a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with renewed purpose. Both have previously stated their willingness to do so. I ask the government of Israel to show its commitment to the early renewal of negotiations to end the conflict and the occupation by not taking forward these plans.




Press Statement by the EU members of the Security Council on Israeli settlements
New York, 19 December 2012

The following press statement was delivered by Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Permanent Representative of the UK Mission to the UN, on behalf of the European Union, on 19 December 2012 at the Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question:

-We have just heard a briefing from Mr Jeffrey Feltman about the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territories. The current stalemate in the Peace Process is a source of great concern to us.

France, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom underscore that sustainable peace will only be achieved through a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition.

France, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom are extremely concerned by and strongly oppose the plans by Israel to expand settlement construction in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and in particular plans to develop the E1 area. If implemented, these plans would jeopardize the possibility of a contiguous, sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian State and of Jerusalem as the future capital of both Israel and Palestine. The reported planning in the E1 area would risk cutting off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and could also entail the forced transfer of civilian population.

We are also deeply disappointed by 17th December announcement regarding the approval of 1500 housing units in the East Jerusalem district of Ramat Shlomo and today’s announcement of 2610 housing units in Givat Hamatos. We are also concerned about reports of an additional 1000 housing units over the Green Line, including in Har Homa and Givat Ze’ev, being tendered.

Israel’s announcements to accelerate the construction of settlements send a negative message and are undermining faith in its willingness to negotiate.

The viability of the two-state solution that is key for Israel’s long-term security is threatened by the systematic expansion of settlements. Settlements are illegal under international law and detrimental to any international efforts to restart peace negotiations and secure a two-state solution. All settlement activity, including in East Jerusalem, must cease immediately.

We call on the Israeli government to rescind these plans and recall that we will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.

The viability of the two-state solution is at stake and must be preserved. A bold demonstration of political will and leadership is needed from both sides to break the current impasse and resume negotiations. To make urgent progress towards the shared goal of a two state solution, parties must engage in direct and substantial negotiations without pre-conditions.

All parties must avoid unilateral acts which undermine confidence and the viability of the two-state solution. We call on Israel to avoid any step undermining the financial situation on 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. We also call on the Palestinian leadership to use constructively their new status within the United Nations with the view to early resumption of direct and meaningful negotiations.

France, Germany, Portugal and the UK welcome that President Abbas has publicly rejected the recent inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel’s right to exist, and that he has stated clearly the position of the legitimate Palestinian leadership which has accepted the State of Israel in the borders of 1967 France, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom reiterate their fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, including with regard to vital threats in the region.

But the responsibility lies also with the international community, and notably the Security Council, to provide urgently for a credible framework for the resumption of direct talks. We remain ready to contribute to renewed, structured and substantial peace efforts, together with the US, members of the Quartet and other international and regional stakeholders, and reaffirm our position that clear parameters outlining the basis for negotiations, as stated in our E4 December 2011 press statement and set out by the European Union in December 2009, December 2010 and May 2011, are key to such an outcome.

We believe that Israel’s security and the realization of the Palestinians’ right to statehood are not opposing goals. On the contrary they are mutually reinforcing objectives. But they will not be achieved while settlement building continues. The only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ending all claims, is one that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and that fulfils the aspiration of both parties towards the shared goal of a two-state solution.


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