The European Union’s External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said Monday that “the EU will not recognize any borders between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that will be determined by unilateral steps.”
During a meeting with Meretz-Yahad Chairman Yossi Beilin in Jerusalem, Ferrero-Waldner expressed her bewilderment over the fact that no negotiations have been held with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas even though three months have passed since the Israeli elections.
Ferrero-Waldner added that the EU believes the mechanism for transferring funds to the Palestinians, which she presented to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, will serve Israel as well.
According to the EU representative, such a mechanism would allow the allocation of frozen funds from Israel to the PA.
'The realignment is a very courageous idea, but we the Europeans believe unilateral steps do not lead to real peace,” Ferrero-Waldner said after her meeting with Livni.
Livni said in response: “We believe that stalemate is not part of the current Israeli government’s policy.”
Beilin, for his part, told Ferrero-Waldner that should the Palestinian leadership accept the prisoners’ document and form a practical and unbiased government, Israel would be wise to “turn over a new leaf” with the PA.
'Meretz will continue to promote negotiations'
In such a situation, according to the Meretz chairman, Israel and the international community must transfer funds to the Authority.
“Meretz-Yahad will not support a realignment plan that includes construction in the territories and the relocation of settlements from one area in the West Bank to another,” Beilin told Ynet following the meeting.
“We will continue to promote negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to advance a bilateral agreement that will solve the conflict.”
The temporary mechanism to funnel aid to the Palestinians, aimed at offering the PA humanitarian assistance while bypassing the Hamas-led government, will be presented in its entirety by Ferrero-Waldner on Monday. Only after the presentation will the Israeli government express its position on the plan.
“The objective is to prevent the European money from reaching the Hamas government and prevent its use for terror-related purposes,” a senior official said.
As to the EU’s objection to the realignment plan, sources in Jerusalem said it is Europe’s traditional stance on the subject.
“This position does not carry any weight at this point, as Israel is seeking ways to hold talks with the Palestinian Authority under the Quartet’s three conditions: Recognition of the State of Israel, the denouncement of terror and the implementation of past agreements with Israel,” one official said.
“However, during personal meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Livni European heads of state and foreign ministers said they identify with Israel’s position that the realignment is the only way out of the current stalemate in case the Palestinians do not accept the basic conditions.”
Attila Somfalvi contributed to the report