Top EU diplomat says Israel has no right to block creation of Palestinian state

In a joint statement with Egyptian FM Shoukry, Borrell reaffirms the right to self-determination for all parties, says ‘nobody can veto it’

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks as he arrives for a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, January. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks as he arrives for a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, January. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday that Israel cannot be allowed to unilaterally block the creation of a Palestinian state after the war in Gaza.

“One thing is clear — Israel cannot have the veto right to the self-determination of the Palestinian people,” Borrell told a Brussels press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

“The United Nations recognizes and has recognized many times the self-determination right of the Palestinian people. Nobody can veto it,” he added.

The comments came after Borrell on Monday chaired talks between the EU’s 27 foreign ministers and the top diplomats from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and key Arab states.

Borrell has floated a roadmap involving an international conference on a two-state solution and has previously said peace needs to be “imposed” on Israel without the country’s agreement.

In a speech at the University of Valladolid in Spain last week, Borrell said that without international intervention, the “spiral of hate will continue generation after generation,” according to multiple Spanish media outlets.

“The actors are too opposed to be able to reach an agreement autonomously,” the diplomat said at the time. “If everyone is in favor of this solution, the international community will have to impose it.”

Appearing with Borrell on Tuesday, Shoukry said there is “an international consensus on the necessity of resolving the conflict on the basis of a two-state solution.”

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, left, shakes hands with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry prior to a meeting of the EU-Egypt Association Council at the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, January 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

“It is time to implement it and the international community has the means, has the resources, has the mechanisms to do so,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn condemnation from the United Nations and defied key backer the United States by rejecting calls for a Palestinian state, insisting that Israel will need to retain “full security control” of Gaza at the end of its war with Hamas to ensure that no new threat emerges.

The war began with the Gaza terror group’s shock onslaught on October 7, when thousands of terrorists burst through the border via the land, air and sea, and launched attacks on more than 20 communities.

Some 1,200 people were massacred amid scenes of horrific brutality, and 253 others were dragged to Gaza as hostages. It was the deadliest attack against Israel in the country’s history.

In response to the terror onslaught, which targeted mostly civilians, Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas from the coastal enclave it has ruled since 2007. It launched an aerial campaign and subsequent ground invasion with the goals of dethroning the terror group and freeing the hostages.

Troops operating in the Gaza Strip in an undated photo released on January 23, 2024 (Israel Defense Forces)

It is believed that 132 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry has said that since the start of the war, at least 25,490 people in Gaza have been killed, mostly women and children, though these figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires.

The IDF says it has killed over 9,00 operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7, and says that it has continued to take steps to ensure that civilian casualties are minimized despite Hamas being deeply entrenched within the civilian population.

The United Nations estimates that 1.9 million Gazans — 85 percent of the prewar population — have been displaced as Israel urged civilians to leave areas where there was fighting. There are shortages of food, water, fuel, and medicines despite efforts to bring in larger amounts of aid.

Urging Israel to allow increased aid to enter the war-torn Gaza Strip, Shoukry warned that if adequate humanitarian assistance is not allowed in, the displacement of Gaza’s population from the territory “will occur.”

“Making the conditions in Gaza unliveable in itself will induce displacements,” he said.

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