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Forget Oslo and the Two-State solution

It's almost a mantra.    The Two-State solution between Israel and the Palestinians, the Oslo Accords, etc.      Informed opinion has it that it's all a dead-letter after all these years - and so have eminent European politicians also concluded.    The Daily Beast reports.

"What we're doing isn't working. In fact, it's making things worse.

That's the upshot of a letter from a group of 19 prominent Europeans to the E.U.'s top foreign policy official, Lady Catherine Ashton. The former officials, drawing on their time as top policy-makers in European governments, urged Ashton to break with past policies and make bold changes in the way the E.U. classifies various facets of the concept. The signers—organized by the European Eminent Persons Group on the Middle East Peace Process—implied that while the E.U. has a record of solid statements on the conflict, these statements just aren't enough.

"We have watched with increasing disappointment over the past five years the failure of the parties to start any kind of productive discussion, and of the international community under American and/or European leadership to promote such discussion. We have also noted with frustration and deep concern the deteriorating standards of humanitarian and human rights care of the population in the Occupied Territories," they wrote. "We are therefore appealing to you, and through you to the members of the Council of Ministers, to recognize that the Peace Process as conceived in the Oslo Agreements has nothing more to offer."

The letter placed blame, notably, not only on Israeli settlements, but on Western policies themselves: "It is time to give a stark warning that the Occupation is actually being entrenched by the present Western policy." That didn't mean settlements didn't come in for criticism, too: "The steady increase in the extent and population of Israeli settlements, including in East Jerusalem, and the entrenchment of Israeli control over the [occupied Palestinian territories] in defiance of international law, indicate a permanent trend towards a complete dislocation of Palestinian territorial rights."

The letter recommended a series of moves to launch a new approach, many of them shattering the shibboleths of Israeli positions—often backed by its patron and main diplomatic shield, the United States. For instance, one suggestion called for "explicit recognition" that Israelis are responsible for rights violations and well-being of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Another said that Israeli settlements beyond the Green Line should "not be recognized as one of the starting points in any new negotiations"—though Israel strongly insists that settlements are so-called facts on the ground that must be accepted as a launching point for talks. The letter also said Europe should try to unify the Palestinians body politic—with all players that renounce violence—and that the P.L.O. should be reformed to be a true representative of all Palestinian people.

The Eminent Persons Group is led by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former UK Ambassador to the UN; Hubert Védrine, former French Foreign Minister; and Wolfgang Ischinger, former State Secretary of the German Foreign Ministry—representing the E.U. 3, the most powerful grouping in the bloc and one that leads on many foreign policy issues. Other signatories included former prime ministers of France, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands; the former president of Latvia, and a host of other former foreign ministers and top government deputies, including veteran officials of multilateral groups like NATO and the E.U. itself."


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