Barcelona, Nov 27 (EFE).- Josep Borell, the foreign policy chief of the European Union, said on Monday that there would be “no peace or security for Israel without a Palestinian state,” aghast over a potential expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Expressing concern over a potential expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Borrell spoke at the 8th regional forum of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), where foreign ministers from the Euro-Mediterranean region gathered for a two-day conference in Barcelona. Notably, Israel chose to skip the meeting.
The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict took center stage at the conference, coinciding with a four-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that commenced on Friday.
In his inaugural speech, Borrell regretted that Israel did not take part in the meeting, stressing that the Jewish country had its place in the forum.
Borrell hoped that Israel would participate in the forum next time, saying he was aware of the “traumas and anger “in the region.
Borrell condemned the civilian attacks by the Islamist Hamas group on Oct. 7 and criticized Israel’s “disproportionate” response. “Nothing can justify the indiscriminate brutality Hamas unleashed against civilians…but one horror cannot justify another horror.”
He said he was “appalled” to learn that the Israeli government planned to allocate new funds for the construction of illegal settlements, deeming it “Israel’s greatest security liability” and a grave violation of international law.
He said the illegal settlements were “not self-defence and will not make Israel safer.”
“A Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza is the best guarantee for Israel’s security and peace,” Borrell said.
“Peace between Israel and Palestine has become a strategic imperative for the entire Euro-Mediterranean community and beyond.”
He called for extending the four-day ceasefire and make it more sustainable, while working out a political solution to break “the cycle of violence forever.” “The pause should be extended to make it sustainable and long-lasting while working for a political solution.” EFE