Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Middle East Peace Process

Delivered in Plenary - 27th September 2011

Madam President

The ECR Group is indeed in favour of a negotiated two-state Israel-Palestine solution, on the basis of the 1967 borders, with land for peace swaps, and agreed on by both parties under the Quartet principles. President Abbasís unilateral bid before the UN General Assembly is rushed and will do nothing to change the situation on the ground.

A lasting solution can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, which must, for its own part, stop the expansion of settlements on occupied territories. Moreover, statehood cannot be safely considered while Palestinian Gaza is governed by an EU-banned terrorist organisation, Hamas. It must also be remembered that Palestine is largely dependent on foreign aid, not only from the US and the European Union, but also from Israel, from whom it receives water and electricity, as well as assistance in collecting taxes.

Advocating unilaterally a recognised Palestinian Authority state without the UN Security Councilís approval, and only that of the General Assemblyís, risks sanctions from the US and Israel. The Israeli Prime Minister has, to his credit, now, without any preconditions, called for a return to direct talks. The ideal next step would be for the Palestinians, via the Palestinian Authority Government, to do likewise in order to achieve their state.