(Loey Felipe/UN)
EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini

The European Union is hoping to impose a framework on Israel and the Palestinians for the purpose of reviving the peace process. Negotiations stalled in April 2014 after the PA violated the Oslo Accords by forming a unity government with Hamas.

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 European Union, apparently buoyed by the conclusion of nuclear negotiations with Iran, will unilaterally seek to impose a new framework in order to revive the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process. EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said she hoped to build trust between both sides and to create the conditions to resume negotiations. Peace negotiations were suspended in April 2014 after the Palestinian Authority agreed to form a unity government with Hamas in violation of the Oslo Accords.

“We need to keep the ambition high, we need to keep the vision, as Europeans, and as international community, and we have to keep the patience to negotiate and to build the conditions for negotiations to restart,” Mogherini told reporters following a meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council.

Mogherini said that the European foreign ministers decided to focus their attention on two tracks in the coming weeks. The first consists of “supporting, improving the situation on the ground, especially in Gaza, and preventing the situation to get worse, which could be extremely dangerous for everybody, not only in Palestine, in Israel, but also in the region – which is also improving the daily conditions on the ground, a way of rebuilding trust or building trust among the parties, which is a precondition that seems to be far from being achieved at the moment. This might also involve some work on starting implementing some of the agreements that were already signed in the past.”

Israel sends cement to Gaza

A Palestinian worker checks a truck loaded with cement bags after entering the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Israel has been supportive of efforts to improve the situation in Gaza, but reconstruction efforts have been persistently bogged down by infighting between the PA and Hamas as well as by the expropriation of cement and other materials by Hamas for the purpose of rebuilding terrorist infrastructure.

“The second track we decided to focus on is creating the conditions for a new political horizon, meaning a new international and regional framework that would lead to the conditions to restart negotiations,” Mogherini added.

As for what that would entail, Mogherini said, “The idea of an international support group is one that we will explore in coming weeks. We will come back to it once I have discussed it with regional actors.”

Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were suspended in April 2014 when the PA agreed to form a unity government with Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destructions of Israel, in violation of the Oslo Accords. Since then, the PA has taken a series of unilateral steps with the intent of achieving de facto statehood without making peace with Israel, including a successful bid to accede to the International Criminal Court and a failed attempt at UN recognition.

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel