EU High Representative Federica Mogherini. (AP/Geert Vanden Wijngaert) (AP/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Federica Mogherini to visit Israel
Federica Mogherini

PM Netanyahu with EU Foreign Minister Mogherini. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)

Federica Mogherini, who will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas, believes “the status quo is not an option.”

EU high representative for foreign affairs Federica Mogherini will be traveling to the Middle East in an attempt to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The diplomat, who replaced Catherine Ashton in the role six months ago, conducted a meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss how the EU could play a positive role in the negotiations.

The Defence and Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union met on Monday to discuss how to revive the peace process, among other subjects. “During the Foreign Affairs Council – with Foreign Ministers only – we will discuss the Middle East Peace Process, how to re-launch it, the role of the European Union in this, just before my trip to Jerusalem and Ramallah later this week,” Mogherini said before the meeting.

“My very early visit has a political meaning,” she told reporters after the meeting. “The European Union is ready and willing to play a major role in a relaunching of this process on the basis of the two-state solution.”

Mogherini emphasized her interest in seeing the peace process move toward the creation of a Palestinian state. “I believe that one thing is clear to everybody in the region, that the status quo is not an option.”

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah shakes hands with senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in October 2014.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah shakes hands with senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in October 2014. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process came to an abrupt halt in April 2014 after the Palestinian Authority formed a unity government with Hamas. According to the Oslo Accords, only Palestinian factions that recognize Israel and all previous agreements between the Palestinians and Israel may join the Palestinian Authority. Hamas does not meet these conditions. Furthermore, the EU, as a member of the Quartet, has committed not to interact with Hamas until it recognizes Israel and renounces violence.

Since then, the Palestinian Authority has taken a number of unilateral steps in order to bring about Palestinian statehood without a peace with Israel. These include an unsuccessful attempt for recognition by the UN Security Council and a successful bid to accede to the International Criminal Court.

Israel is likely to be skeptical of the EU’s new top diplomat as the EU is not generally seen as friendly toward the Jewish state or understanding of its security needs. In November, Mogherini told French newspaper Le Monde, “The important thing for me is not whether other states, European or not, recognize Palestine.” Since Mogherini took office, the EU has dropped Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations for “technical” reasons, and an internal EU document listing hypothetical steps the EU could take to punish Israel was leaked to Ha’aretz.

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel