Participants at an event organised by the EuroPal Forum in London have called for Europe to have a serious role in international efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. The programme was called â€śTrumpâ€™s Jerusalem Promise: Time for Europe to Lead for Peace in the Middle Eastâ€ť and was chaired by the Director of Middle East Monitor, Dr Daud Abdullah.
Panellists included barrister Toby Cadman, an international law specialist, and Baroness Jenny Tonge. The Labour Partyâ€™s Julie Ward MEP also took part. â€śThe EU must take practical measures allowing it to contribute to resolving the Palestinian conflict by reviving the peace process based on the two-state solution,â€ť the European parliamentarian stressed.â€ť Europe still considers that to be the ideal formula for the solution.â€ť
Palestinian academic Dr Ghada Karmi suggested that if the Europeans want to, they can play Americaâ€™s role in the Middle East. â€śThey are more acceptable to the Palestinians than the American mediators, whom the Palestinian officials and people insist are not impartial but are supporters of the [Israeli] occupation.â€ť
This point was emphasised by Professor Kamel Hawwash, Vice Chair of the British Palestinian Policy Council (BPPC). He emphasised Americaâ€™s clear bias in favour of Israel, which makes Washington unfavourable for the Palestinians in the future. Hawwash praised the EUâ€™s position in rejecting Trumpâ€™s announcement regarding Jerusalem. â€śThis is an important European position that must be built upon,â€ť he added. â€śHowever, things will not necessarily go the way that the Palestinians want because they are the weakest link in the equation.â€ť
According to EuroPal chairman Zaher Birawi, the Palestinians must think outside of the fruitless negotiation box that has achieved nothing for them. â€śThey must prepare to deal with Israel as an occupying state, which international law gives them the right to resist in order to restore their national rights.â€ť This option, he insisted, will make negotiations important and give the Palestinian leadership true value by forcing the [Israeli occupation authorities] to respect their position.
The forum was attended by many political activists and journalists concerned with the Palestinian cause.