EU launches initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, co-hosted by Saudis

The plan, presented on the sidelines of the UNGA, aims to build on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative that was rejected by Israel mainly because it called for the “right of return” of millions of Palestinian “refugees.”

By World Israel News Staff

On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Saudi Arabia, the European Union and the Arab League, among others, will introduce their plan, dubbed the “Peace Day Effort,” to encourage an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, Times of Israel reported.

According to the report, one working group will focus on potential peacetime regional, political and security cooperation; a second will develop proposals for economic cooperation; and a third will discuss cooperation regarding humanitarian and cultural issues.

The main driving force behind the initiative is the EU’s Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Sven Koopmans, the report says.

The EU, in fact, has been creating facts on the ground for many years by funding illegal Palestinian structures in Area C of Judea and Samaria, which, under the Oslo Accords, falls fully under Israeli authority, as noted by watchdog Regavim. At the same time, it condemns Israeli settlements, including Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

Only recently, for example, a leaked document outlined EU strategy in the area, revealing “a gross violation of Israel’s sovereignty and jurisdiction by purported allies,” according to Naomi Kahn, director of Regavim’s International Division.

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“The goal of the Europeans is to encourage Palestinians to register land in Area C; land under someone else’s legal jurisdiction. It’s a violation of international law and treaty,” Kahn said. “The government of Israel has to make it clear to the European Union that foreign intervention that is changing the map and undermining its ability to negotiate a resolution will no longer be accepted.”

In May, German diplomat Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, who represents the EU in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, stated, “There is no such thing as Area B and C, it’s all Palestine.”

The new plan being presented this week reportedly expands on the Saudi peace initiative of 2002, which was rejected by Israel. Proponents of the 2002 initiative had promised that 22 Arab countries would normalize ties with Israel if it accepts the conditions, including a complete withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, Gaza and the Golan Heights; the right of return of millions of socalled Palestinian refugees, which would effectively bring an end to the Jewish state; and the establishment of a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Meanwhile, Israel has since established relations with four Arab countries that have joined the Abraham Accords.

The new Peace Day Effort is also building on a 2013 offer by the EU to present an “unprecedented package of political, security and economic support” to the Palestinians and Israel, the Times reported.

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While not enthusiastic about the plan, the Biden administration is nevertheless expected to send a representative to the meeting on Monday, the report continues, citing two sources familiar with the matter who said it hampers U.S. efforts to advance an Israel-Saudi agreement.

It could also undermine negotiations conducted by the Negev Forum, which includes  working groups represented by the U.S., Israel, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and the UAE that focus on many of the same issues.