Israel’s efforts to prevent international recognition of the Hamas-led Palestinian unity government have suffered a blow. The leaders of the 27 member countries of the European Union, who met in Brussels over the weekend, released a statement in which Europe shows flexibility and is willing to accept the refusal of Haniya and his colleagues to recognize Israel.
France was the nation that pushed toward the compromise wording that was accepted by the EU leaders.
A statement released by European leaders last Friday said that Europe welcomes the Mecca Agreement between Fatah and Hamas and congratulates the Saudis for their role in achieving it, without any mention that the Mecca Agreement makes no mention of reconciliation or peace with Israel.
Regarding the content of the agreement, it read, “The European Union stands ready to work with a legitimate Palestinian government that adopts a platform reflecting the Quartet principles.” This is a significant retreat from the European position that until now accorded with the United States, demanding that the Palestinian government meet the three conditions that the Quartet set for the Palestinians: recognizing Israel, abandoning violence and honoring the agreements signed between the two parties. Currently, it has become clear that it is enough for Europe that the Palestinian unity government “reflect” the principles of the international community without explicitly meeting them.
The Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, said: “By honoring the existing agreements, there is implied recognition of Israel’s right to exist.” EU foreign policy director Javier Solana said that Europe will not tell the Palestinians exactly how they must recognize Israel. “There are many ways to express recognition of Israel. I will not say which one is the most appropriate. They must decide that. It must only be sufficiently clear,” Solana told the media in Brussels.
Hamas welcomed the statement of the European Union leaders, which they are publishing in order to lift the economic boycott of the Palestinian Authority and recognize the unity government. Hamas operatives also said that they are encouraged by the position of France and Russia, which called for the removal of the economic boycott and for cooperation with the unity government.
Over the weekend, the Hamas leader, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh had called upon the European Union to recognize the government “since it is the government of the people.” Haniyeh said on Sunday that the establishment of the government will be announced tomorrow or on Thursday, and it will be sworn in on this coming Saturday. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa was invited to Gaza to participate in the ceremony establishing the Palestinian Authority government.
The Arab League, founded in 1945 with the purpose of destroying the nascent Jewish state in the Middle East, entered into a formal state of war to obliterate Israel when the Jewish state was established in 1948. The Arab League spawned the PLO in 1964 to involve Palestinian Arabs in the continuation of that state of war, which continues to this day