During Gaza visit, Federica Mogherini says establishment of state is ‘ultimate goal of all the European Union’
The European Union’s new foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini on Saturday called for the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying the world “cannot afford” another war in Gaza
Hamas and Israel fought a 50-day war in July and August which resulted in the deaths of 2,140 Palestinians, at least half of them combatants according to Israel, and more than 70 Israelis, most of them soldiers.
Mogherini’s visit came against a backdrop of surging Israeli-Palestinian tensions in East Jerusalem where there have been near-daily clashes in flashpoint neighborhoods, and two terror attacks that killed four Israelis in two weeks.
She voiced hope that Gaza would avoid another major conflict. “It is not only the people of Gaza that can’t afford having a fourth war, all the world cannot afford this,” she said.
“We cannot just sit and wait. If we sit and wait it will go on for another 40 years. We have to have action now,” said Mogherini, a former Italian foreign minister who recently took over from Catherine Ashton as the top EU diplomat.
Earlier Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported that several European nations told US officials that they are seriously considering unilaterally recognizing Palestine as a state, as Sweden did last month, if peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians do not resume.
According to the report, these countries include some of the US’s closest allies. The report did not specify which, however.
“We’re not going to wait forever,” a senior European official said, according to the report. “Other European countries are poised to follow Sweden.”
On Friday, Mogherini said there was a real “urgency” to pick up and advance the moribund peace process. “The risk is that if we do not move forward on the political track, we will go back… again to violence,” she told reporters during her first official visit to Jerusalem.
“That’s why I see the urgency in moving forward,” she said, adding that Israel’s settlement activity was an “obstacle” to negotiations based on a two-state solution. The Palestinians, for their part, are set to submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council later this month calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines, a senior official said on Tuesday.