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EU urged to take firm stance on Israel

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German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a joint press conference at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on May 12, 2015. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his appreciation to Germany for its "commitment to Israel's security" in a joint press conference Tuesday afternoon with visiting German Defense Minister Ursula Von Der Leyen.

 German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a joint press conference at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on May 12, 2015. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his appreciation to Germany for its "commitment to Israel's security" in a joint press conference Tuesday afternoon with visiting German Defense Minister Ursula Von Der Leyen.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a joint press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, on May 12, 2015. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his appreciation to Germany for its “commitment to Israel’s security” in a joint press conference Tuesday afternoon with visiting German Defense Minister Ursula Von Der Leyen.

A group of 19 prominent former European leaders have urged the European Union to take a firm stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict in light of the lack of political will for peaceful resolution shown by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government, Efe news agency reported.

In a letter to EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, the signatories, including former vice-presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers, commissioners and a former president, demanded “urgent action by the EU to construct a coherent and effective policy on the question of Palestine”.

The letter conveyed that they were all “convinced” that Netanyahu has “little intention of negotiating seriously for a two-state solution within the term of this incoming Israeli government”, having demonstrated himself during the recent election campaign to be “cold to the concept of an independent Palestinian state”.

The signatories warned that the situation on the ground was steadily becoming “more dangerous”, and recalled the lack of international justice, human rights and humanitarian standards in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as the “continued illegal expansion of settlements”.

“Europe has yet to find an effective way of holding Israel to account for the way it maintains the occupation. It is time now to demonstrate to both parties how seriously European public opinion takes contraventions of international law, the perpetration of atrocities and the denial of established rights,” the letter asserted.

The 19 signatories suggested new peace negotiations, the recognition of a Palestinian state and support for their access to international treaties and organisations to create equality between the two sides.

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