Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-05-09-Speech-3-095"

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". – Mr President, I, too, must beg forgiveness of Mr Rocard by focusing on one issue – Palestine. I also believe that, until the EU changes its current position and recognises the National Unity Government in Palestine, we are precisely undermining the opportunities for good relations with the Arab world, we are exacerbating poverty and suffering in the Occupied Territories, we are in danger of destroying the Palestinian Authority itself and we are certainly already destroying the hopes of the Palestinian people. We are also being entirely inconsistent and hypocritical, because the Palestinians I have met have rightly challenged me: Does the EU not say that democracy is better than violence? Well, yes, we do. Did the EU election observers not pronounce the Palestinian elections free and fair? Well, yes, they did. In spite of that, when asked to do so, did the legitimately elected Hamas Government not transform itself into a genuine government of national unity? Yes, it did. Has that government not agreed to the three demands of the quartet to renounce violence, to respect previous agreements and to recognise the State of Israel? Yes, it has. They ask me and I, in turn, ask the Council here tonight, what else is the EU waiting for? I have just come back from a parliamentary delegation visit to Palestine where we met Prime Minister Haniyeh and many of his ministers, and the message from all of them was the same: they have met the demands of the Quartet, they accept a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and they are ready and eager for peace negotiations. They cannot understand why the EU does not respond and why we insist, for example, on channelling aid via the Temporary International Mechanism, which, while it helps some of the poorest, is unable to prevent the growing humanitarian and political crisis: it undermines the apparatus and the authority of the Palestinian State and, crucially, it strips the EU of the leverage we could – and should – have with the Israeli authorities to pressure them into releasing the Palestinian tax revenues which they are still illegally withholding. We met Mustafa Barghouti, the Minister of Information, and he left us in doubt when he said, ‘If the EU wants the Palestinian Authority to collapse, then it should say so’. Let us be very clear: that is where our policies are leading. I am sure that neither we nor the Council wants the Palestinian Authority to collapse, and so I ask the Council once again: what else is it waiting for?"@en1

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