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Chomsky says Europe could help Mideast talks
Fierce US, Israel critic says US-brokered peace talks could benefit from European involvement; 'There's no reason why Europe should support illegal settlements,' he says

Prominent American academic Noam Chomsky says a US-brokered resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians likely won't amount to much – but Europe could change that.

 

Chomsky said Europe could use its political and economic weight to facilitate peace if it were willing to break from American policies supporting Israel.

 

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He told reporters Friday in Geneva that Europe "consistently follows the US stand," which he said punishes Palestinians whose land is settled by Israelis, and "there's no reason why Europe should support illegal settlements."

 

Preliminary peace talks agreed to after a shuttle mission by US Secretary of State John Kerry are to begin in Washington next Tuesday.

 

Both sides have low expectations for the new US peace initiative since Israeli-Palestinian talks over the terms of a Palestinian state have been frozen for five years amid disagreement even on the rules for negotiations, including the principles for drawing a border between them.

 

“It’s hard to be optimistic but Europe could play a role,” said Chomsky. “By and large, Europe has not developed an independent Middle East policy.”

 

Chomsky is a fierce critic of the US government and Israel, which banned him in 2010.

 

Last year, during his first visit to the Gaza Strip, he called on Israel to end its blockade of the territory run by the Islamic militant group Hamas.

 

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