Six European nations express concern over growing violence in Palestinian territories

Ahram Online , Saturday 4 Mar 2023

France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom have expressed their "grave" concern in the face of the growing violence in the occupied Palestinian territories, urging a cessation of all unilateral actions that threaten peace and incitements to violence.

West Bank
A Palestinian man walks between scorched cars in a scrapyard, in Hawara, near Nablus, West Bank, Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. AP


Clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli occupation forces in different parts of the occupied West Bank on Friday as a fallout from Israeli raids and Jewish settlers' attacks on Palestinian towns.

"We strongly condemn recent terrorist attacks that killed Israeli citizens. Terrorism can under no circumstance be justified," read a joint statement by the spokespersons of the foreign ministries of the six nations on Saturday.

"We also strongly condemn indiscriminate violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians, including destruction of homes and properties," it added.

On Thursday, Israeli troops shot dead a 15-year-old Palestinian boy and critically wounded another child in the town of Azzun in the West Bank. Scores of Palestinians were also injured during clashes with Israeli troops in Bayt Dajan village and the villages of Beita and Huwara near the city of Nablus on Friday.

"We are saddened by all loss of life. These acts can lead nowhere, except to more violence," the joint statement said, urging for holding accountable those responsible for the escalation.

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called on Wednesday for a flashpoint Palestinian town to be "wiped out".

The call, which has been slammed by many including the UN human rights chief, was made days after two settlers were shot dead in Huwara, killings, which led Israeli settlers to attack the northern West Bank town.

A meeting in the Jordanian city of Aqaba this week brought together Palestinian and Israeli officials in the hope of ending the violence in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The six EU nations hailed the Aqaba meeting, saying in today's joint statement that such a result sparks hope, as Israelis and Palestinians sides affirmed reciprocal commitments, including on efforts to de-escalate and work towards a just and lasting peace.

They urged all parties to refrain from derailing "fragile" process, and called on all parties to make good on the commitments they made in the Aqaba meeting by de-escalating in words and deeds.

De-escalation will help efforts to blossom and make the next meeting in Egypt a success, the statement stressed, adding there can be no desirable outcome other than a just and lasting peace for all.

"In this regard, we also reiterate our strong opposition to all unilateral measures that undermine the two-state solution, including expansion of settlements which are illegal under international law.

"We urge the Israeli government to reverse its recent decision to advance the construction of more than 7,000 settlement building units across the occupied West Bank and to legalise settlement outposts," it added.


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