Letter: Grave concern about US plan to resolve Israel-Palestine conflict

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The Guardian  /  February 27, 2020

Donald Trump’s Peace to Prosperity plan for the Middle East envisages an outcome with characteristics similar to apartheid, say 50 former foreign ministers and leaders from across Europe.

As Europeans dedicated to promoting international law, peace and security worldwide, we express our deep concern about President Trump’s Middle East plan, titled Peace to Prosperity.

The plan contradicts internationally agreed parameters for the Middle East peace process, relevant UN resolutions, including security council resolution 2334, and the most fundamental principles of international law.

Instead of promoting peace, it risks fuelling the conflict – at the expense of Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike, and with grave implications for Jordan and the wider region. It has been met with widespread opposition in the region, in Europe, and in the United States.

The plan allows for annexation of large and vital parts of the occupied Palestinian territory and legitimises and encourages illegal Israeli settlement activity. It recognises only one side’s claims to Jerusalem and offers no just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees. It projects a future Palestinian “state” without control and sovereignty over its fragmented territory. The map featured in the plan proposes Palestinian enclaves under permanent Israeli military control, which evoke chilling associations with South Africa’s bantustans.

Peace to Prosperity is not a roadmap to a viable two-state solution, nor to any other legitimate solution to the conflict. The plan envisages a formalisation of the current reality in the occupied Palestinian territory, in which two peoples are living side by side without equal rights. Such an outcome has characteristics similar to apartheid – a term we don’t use lightly.

The international community, particularly the European Union, must prevent such a scenario from unfolding, in order to preserve the dignity and rights of the Palestinians, the future of Israeli democracy and the wider international rules-based order.

We welcome the statement by EU high representative Josep Borrell stressing the EU’s continued commitment to a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders, in accordance with the international parameters. We fully agree with the EU that Israeli “steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged”, as they would impair the fundamental international norm banning the acquisition of territory by force.

Considering the urgency of the situation, we call on Europe to reject the US plan as a basis for negotiations and to take immediate and effective steps to counter the threat of annexation – and thereby preserve the international rules-based order.

Douglas Alexander Former minister of state for Europe and secretary of state for international development, United Kingdom
Ben Bradshaw Former minister of state for the Middle East, United Kingdom
Gro Harlem Brundtland Former prime minister, Norway
John Bruton Former prime minister, Ireland
Micheline Calmy-Rey Former foreign minister and president, Switzerland
Ingvar Carlsson Former prime minister, Sweden
Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz Former foreign minister and prime minister, Poland
Daniel Cohn-Bendit Former co-president of the Greens-European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament, Germany
Joe Costello Former minister of state for trade and development and chair of the European affairs committee, Ireland
Willy Claes Former foreign minister and NATO secretary general, Belgium
Massimo d’Alema Former foreign minister and prime minister, Italy
Teresa Patrício de Gouveia Former foreign minister, Portugal
Dominique de Villepin Former foreign minister and prime minister, France
Ruth Dreifuss Former foreign minister and president, Switzerland
Alan Duncan Former minister of state for Europe and the Americas, and minister of state for international development, United Kingdom
Espen Barth Eide Former foreign minister, Norway
Jan Eliasson Former foreign minister and UN general assembly president, Sweden
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen Former foreign minister and president of the European Liberals, Denmark
Benita Ferrero-Waldner Former foreign minister and European commissioner for external relations, Austria
Sigmar Gabriel Former foreign minister and vice-chancellor, Germany
Peter Hain Former minister of state for the Middle East, United Kingdom
Lena Hjelm-Wallén Former foreign minister and deputy prime minister, Sweden
Trinidad Jiménez Former foreign minister, Spain
Tom Kitt Former minister of state for overseas development and human rights, Ireland
Bert Koenders Former foreign minister, the Netherlands
Martin Liedegaard Former foreign minister, Denmark
Mogens Lykketoft Former foreign minister and UN general assembly president, Denmark
Sven Mikser Former foreign minister, Estonia
Per Stig Møller Former foreign minister, Denmark
Holger K Nielsen Former foreign minister, Denmark
Andrzej Olechowski Former foreign minister, Poland
Marc Otte Former EU special representative to the Middle East peace process, Belgium
Chris Patten Former vice-president of the European commission, United Kingdom
Hans-Gert Pöttering Former president of the European parliament, Germany
Jacques Poos Former foreign minister, Luxembourg
Vesna Pusić Former foreign minister and deputy prime minister, Croatia
Mary Robinson Former president and United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Ireland
Jacques Santer Former prime minister and president of the European commission, Luxembourg
Karel Schwarzenberg Former foreign minister and deputy prime minister, Czech Republic
Robert Serry Former UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, the Netherlands
Javier Solana Former foreign minister, Nato secretary general and EU high representative for common foreign and security policy, Spain
Michael Spindelegger Former foreign minister and vice-chancellor, Austria
Jack Straw Former foreign secretary, United Kingdom
Gareth Thomas Former minister of state for international development, United Kingdom
Erkki Tuomioja Former foreign minister, Finland
Ivo Vajgl Former foreign minister, Slovenia
Jozias van Aartsen Former foreign minister, the Netherlands
Frank Vandenbroucke Former foreign minister, Belgium
Hubert Védrine Former foreign minister, France
Sayeeda Warsi Former cabinet minister and Foreign Office minister for the United Nations, human rights and the ICC, United Kingdom