EU must push for peace between Palestine and Israel, says North West MEP

The EU should use all its tools to bring about a new Middle East peace process and prevent creating another generation of young Palestinians with ‘life long hatred in their hearts’, said a North West MEP. 

Afzal Khan MEP, vice chair of the European Parliament Defence and Security committee, believes that while time is running out for a two state solution due to the scale of illegal settlements, the EU still have options to help restart talks between Palestine and Israel.

The MEPs voted to change the name of its ‘Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council’ to ‘Delegation for relations with Palestine’ following a debate at the weekend – some might assume this as a signal of increased remit in the Parliament’s relations with Palestine.

Speaking during the debate in the European Parliament, Mr. Khan said: “The Middle East Peace Process began with the signing of the Oslo Accords over 21 years ago. Since then, many have come to believe that peace between Israelis and Palestinians is impossible. 

“The aggressive expansion of illegal settlements…has radically altered geographical boundaries to such a degree that experts warn a viable peace based on a two state solution is vanishing before our eyes.

“The Middle East does not need to carry on going through this suffering. We do not need another generation of young Palestinians with lifelong hatred in their hearts.

“We are running out of time, but not out of options. [The EU] must use all our tools – diplomatic and economic – to restart the peace process and determine a just solution to this dispute urgently.”

Mr. Khan, a Labour MEP for the North West, also criticised Conservative MEPs for tabling a motion which sought to distinguish between ‘two sets of people’ not two states. The motion was voted down by MEPs

He added: “When David Cameron can affirm British commitment to a two state solution as he did yesterday in London at a meeting with Binjamin Netanyahu – I see no space for a divisive motion like this at European level. I am glad we voted it down.

“The idea of dividing people living in the Middle East according to race is deeply disturbing and not helpful. We will achieve peace only by bringing people together, not by driving them apart.”

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