Israel Bombs Hamas Terror Infrastructure In Gaza

Provided by IBT US Israel Rocket Strike Site

Israel said its military bombed targets Saturday local time in Gaza in response to rocket fire in the countrys first military action against the territory since August. There were at least two airstrikes launched against a Hamas facility by Israels air force after a rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza Friday local time for which the Israeli military said it blames Hamas, according to Al Jazeera.

The assault is the first since a truce between Gaza and Israel was instituted in August, following a 50-day war that saw more than 2,000 people die, the majority of whom were Palestinians in Gaza killed in bombings by the Israeli military as part of its Operation Protective Edge.

The IDF will not permit any attempt to undermine the security and jeopardize the well being of the civilians of Israel, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces said, according to Fox News. The Hamas terrorist organization is responsible and accountable for today’s attack against Israel.

Gazas health ministry said no injuries resulted from the bombings, according to Al Jazeera. The Israeli attack targeted Hamas terror infrastructure in the Khan Yunis area of southern Gaza, BBC News reported.

The rocket fired from Gaza hit a field in the Ehskol Regional Council in the south of Israel, also causing no injuries or damage, IDFs Lt Col Peter Lerner said, BBC added. It is the third such attack since the truce was put in place, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Israel Air Force received assistance from the Israel Navy in carrying out the airstrikes, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“The IDF struck terror infrastructure belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip. A direct hit was identified, a statement by the IDF Spokespersons Unit said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “The IDF will not allow any attempts to hurt the safety of Israel’s civilians. The Hamas terrorist organization is the address, and they bear responsibility.

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Israel Bombs Hamas Terror Infrastructure In Gaza

Israel attacks Gaza

Israel’s military struck a Hamas site in the Gaza Strip early Saturday in its first airstrike on the Palestinian territory since this summer’s war.

The Israeli military said the airstrike on what it called a “Hamas terror infrastructure site” in the southern Gaza Strip was in response to a rocket fired from Gaza into southern Israel on Friday. The rocket fire caused no injuries.

Palestinian residents reported hearing two explosions in the Khan Yunis region of Gaza, in an area that contains training sites for Palestinian militants. No injuries were immediately reported.

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Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman, said Israel’s military “will not permit any attempt to undermine the security and jeopardize the well being of the civilians of Israel. The Hamas terrorist organization is responsible and accountable for today’s attack against Israel.”

The Gaza rocket attack and Israeli retaliation came days after a European Union court ordered Hamas removed from the EU terrorist list for procedural reasons, but said the bloc can maintain asset freezes against Hamas members for now. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas is “a murderous terror organization” and called for Hamas to be immediately returned to the list.

Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza, fought a 50-day war this summer. In that war, Hamas launched thousands of rockets and mortars toward Israel, which carried out an aerial campaign and a ground invasion.

The war left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead, according to Palestinian and U.N. officials. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and six civilians were killed.

In the West Bank on Friday, fierce clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at a West Bank military checkpoint and near the village of Turmus Aya, though no injuries were reported.

The village was the site of a Palestinian-Israeli scuffle earlier this month during which Palestinian Cabinet minister Ziad Abu Ain collapsed. He later died en route to hospital.

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Israel attacks Gaza

Israel launches airstrike on Hamas target in Gaza

GAZA, Dec. 19 (UPI) — Israel launched an airstrike on a Hamas target Friday in retaliation to rocket fire from Gaza, the Israeli military said.

No injuries reported from either attack, officials from Israel Defense Forces said.

The rocket from Gaza struck in open territory near the Eshkol Regional Council early Friday afternoon. Residents reported hearing blasts shortly after.

Two airstrikes were launched in response by the Israel air force with assistance from the Israel navy.

“The IDF struck terror infrastructure belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip. A direct hit was identified,” an IDF spokesperson said in a statement.

“The IDF will not allow any attempts to hurt the safety of Israel’s civilians. The Hamas terrorist organization is the address, and they bear responsibility,” the statement said.

This is the first time the Israeli military has launched an attack on Gaza since a truce was established between Israel and Palestinians in August. It’s the third time rocket fire from Gaza has reached Israel in the same span of time.

The incident came just two days after a European Union court reversed Hamas’ status as a terror organization.

“If anyone doubted this [Hamas' status as a terror group] then they received the answer now with the [rocket] fire,” former Israeli deputy defense minister Danny Danon said.

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Israel launches airstrike on Hamas target in Gaza

Israel: Gaza rocket hits country in first strike in months

Published December 19, 2014

Dec. 19, 2014 – Israeli troops fire tear gas toward Palestinian protesters near a village outside of Ramallah. Clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at a West Bank military checkpoint near Turmus Aya. A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel on Friday, the Israeli military said, in the first such attack since September.

Israeli border police detain a Palestinian protester following a prayer for Palestinian Cabinet minister Ziad Abu Ain, who collapsed shortly after a protest on Dec. 10 in the West Bank village of Turmus Aya, as they clash with the troops near the village outside of Ramallah, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at a West Bank military checkpoint near Turmus Aya, where Abu Ain collapsed and later died en route to hospital. Palestinian and Israeli pathologists subsequently disagreed over the cause of Abu Ain’s death. The Palestinian expert said the cause of death was a “blow,” while his Israeli colleague said Abu Ain died of a heart attack. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)(The Associated Press)

Palestinians protesters pray for Palestinian Cabinet minister Ziad Abu Ain, who collapsed shortly after a protest on Dec. 10 in the village of Turmus Aya near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Clashes erupted later between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at a West Bank military checkpoint near Turmus Aya, where Abu Ain collapsed and later died en route to hospital. Palestinian and Israeli pathologists subsequently disagreed over the cause of Abu Ain’s death. The Palestinian expert said the cause of death was a “blow,” while his Israeli colleague said Abu Ain died of a heart attack. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)(The Associated Press)

Israeli border police officers detain a Palestinian protester following a prayer for Palestinian Cabinet minister Ziad Abu Ain, who collapsed shortly after a protest on Dec. 10 in the West Bank village of Turmus Aya, as they clash with the troops near the village outside of Ramallah, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at a West Bank military checkpoint near Turmus Aya, where Abu Ain collapsed and later died en route to hospital. Palestinian and Israeli pathologists subsequently disagreed over the cause of Abu Ain’s death. The Palestinian expert said the cause of death was a “blow,” while his Israeli colleague said Abu Ain died of a heart attack. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)(The Associated Press)

An Israeli officer was injured by a stone from Palestinian protesters following a prayer for Palestinian Cabinet minister Ziad Abu Ain, who collapsed shortly after a protest on Dec. 10 in the West Bank village of Turmus Aya, as they clash with the troops near the village outside of Ramallah, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at a West Bank military checkpoint near Turmus Aya, where Abu Ain collapsed and later died en route to hospital. Palestinian and Israeli pathologists subsequently disagreed over the cause of Abu Ain’s death. The Palestinian expert said the cause of death was a “blow,” while his Israeli colleague said Abu Ain died of a heart attack. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)(The Associated Press)

JERUSALEM A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel on Friday, the Israeli military said, in the first such attack since September.

The military said air raid sirens were sounded in the Eshkol region bordering the Palestinian coastal territory. The projectile landed in an open field, causing no injuries or damage, according to police.

Israel fought a 50-day war this summer with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza. Hamas launched thousands of rockets and mortars toward Israel, which carried out an aerial campaign and a ground invasion.

The war left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead, according to Palestinian and U.N. officials. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and six civilians were killed.

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Israel: Gaza rocket hits country in first strike in months

Palestine submits UN resolution for two-state solution

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 18 (UPI) — A draft measure with a definitive timetable for a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank, targets for Palestinian sovereignty and territorial exchanges received the support of Arab countries at the United Nations Security Council.

The resolution was formally shared with the 15 Security Council members Wednesday after a day of lobbying by Palestinian U.N. representatives. It offers an ambitious road map to statehood for Palestine, and includes the sharing of Jerusalem, with Israel, for a national capital and the withdrawal of Israeli forces by the end of 2017. The two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine existing side by side, is based on a French U.N. proposal, although reference to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state was removed from the new measure.

The measure calls for a “just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution that brings to an end the Israeli occupation since 1967 and fulfills the vision of two independent, democratic and prosperous states — Israel and a sovereign, contiguous and viable state of Palestine.”

A two-hour meeting Wednesday between Arab diplomats and Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s U.N. ambassador, persuaded the Arab countries to support the resolution, although Mansour acknowledged that some of the language may require modification.

“We will continue negotiating with all of them, and the Americans if they are ready and willing, so that perhaps we can succeed in having something adopted by the Security Council,” Mansour said at the end of the meeting. Historically, the United States has been reluctant to involve the Security Council in the Israel- Palestinian debate, instead favoring direct talks.

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Palestine submits UN resolution for two-state solution

Palestine pushes UN bid despite threats

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressing the UN General Assembly (file photo)

Palestinian authorities say they will press ahead with their efforts at the United Nations (UN) to seek official statehood despite a joint US-Israeli bid to stymie the attempts.

The Palestinians will present a bid for statehood to the UN Security Council (USNC) on Wednesday amid reports that Washington and Tel Aviv are formulating a joint position against the Palestinian move at the headquarters of the world body, where the US has persistently used its veto privilege to block any resolution not favored by the Israeli regime.

However, Palestinian officials appear adamant about the move, saying they will submit to the council the draft resolution that would set a two-year deadline on the Israeli forces to withdraw from occupied Palestinian lands.

We will submit our project to the UN Security Council tomorrow, said an unnamed senior advisor to Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Tuesday.

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat also made similar remarks during talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry in London, where Washingtons top diplomat warned that his government will move to block any resolution on an independent Palestinian state.

Kerry has reportedly held three days of intense talks in Europe in an attempt to head off a pre-Christmas crisis at the UNSC.

Erakat, meanwhile, warned that a US veto would lead the Palestinians toward applying for membership in a number of international organizations, including the International Criminal Court (ICC), where they would be able to sue the Israeli regime for war crimes.

Washington is opposed to the Palestinian bid to join the ICC, too.

In the past few months, the Palestinian national unity government has been pushing for a UN resolution that determines the borders of a future Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines.

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Palestine pushes UN bid despite threats

Israel, Palestinians prepare for showdown at U.N.

The Washington Post Palestinian officials will take a new resolution to the United Nations to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank by late 2016. The announcement came as new figures show the Jewish settler population in the territory is on the rise.

Israel and the Palestinians are girding for a showdown at the United Nations this week over a resolution that would recognize a Palestinian state and demand an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory in less than two years.

The Palestinian leadership, frustrated after two decades of peace talks that have failed to bring them statehood, announced they will submit the resolution to the Security Council on Wednesday.

It is likely doomed from the start.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat allowed on Monday that the measure, which sets a November 2016 deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from land sought for a Palestinian state, does not yet have the support by a majority of Security Council members. And even if they did win the vote, it would likely be vetoed by the United States, one of five permanent members with veto power.

Israelis are relying again on the United States to act as a buffer at the United Nations.

Let it be clear: they wont get what they want, said former justice minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni, according to the Jerusalem Post. The Palestinian proposal wont be accepted. The world will reject this text. And, if necessary, the U.S. will use its veto power.

Although the United States has vetoed dozens of resolutions deemed anti-Israel in the past, this one comes at a particularly difficult time. Several Arab states that are sympathetic to the Palestinian position are part of the coalition battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and Washington is relying on their cooperation to keep the coalition from being exclusively Western.

Trying to avert a confrontation over the resolution, Secretary of State John F. Kerry summoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a three-hour meeting in Rome Monday.

Kerry made no statement after the meeting, instead leaving for Paris to meet with the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and the European Union. On Tuesday, he is scheduled to be in London to talk with Erekat and the head of the Arab League, which has proposed its own peace initiative.

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Israel, Palestinians prepare for showdown at U.N.

Palestine to submit statehood bid to UN

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas speaks in a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah over cancelling security coordination with Israel on December 14, 2014.

Palestinians are set to submit a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) this week which calls for the recognition of the Palestinian state and sets a two-year deadline for Israel to end its occupation, Press TV reports.

Palestinian officials decided to take their case to the UNSC next Wednesday following a meeting chaired by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

This is a final decision. We will go to the UN Security Council next Wednesday. This is why the Palestinian leadership has decided to keep its meetings open-ended to follow up all developments, said Jamil Shehada from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee.

Also, there would be another meeting… between a high ranking Palestinian delegation and US Secretary of State John Kerry to make our point of view more clear All we are seeking is to end the Israeli occupation, he added.

The Palestinian statehood bid, however, is widely expected to be vetoed by the United States, a close ally of Israel.

If we succeed in passing this bill, then Israel will be forced to accept it. But, if our bid is foiled due to what is known as the USs rights to use a veto, then the Palestinian leadership would go for joining all the international treaties and agencies as well an all conventions, including the International Criminal Court, said Fatah movement spokesman Ahmad Assaf.

On November 29, 2012, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestines status to non-member observer state.

Over the past months, the Palestinian national unity government has been pushing for a UN resolution that determines the borders of the future Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines. The Tel Aviv regime has expressed outcries over the motion.

Abbas has ruled out any negotiations with Israel over land, saying Palestinians wont give up even an inch of their land.

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Palestine to submit statehood bid to UN

Israel, Palestinians gird for showdown over U.N. resolution on withdrawal

Palestinian officials will take a new resolution to the United Nations to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank by late 2016. The announcement came as new figures show the Jewish settler population in the territory is on the rise. (AP)

Israel and the Palestinians are girding for a showdown at the United Nations this week over a resolution that would recognize a Palestinian state and demand an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory in less than two years.

The Palestinian leadership, frustrated after two decades of peace talks that have failed to bring statehood, announced that it will submit the resolution to the Security Council on Wednesday.

It is likely doomed from the start.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat allowed on Monday that the measure, which sets a November 2016 deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from land sought for a Palestinian state, does not yet have the support of a majority of Security Council members. And even if the Palestinians did win the vote, the measure would probably be vetoed by the United States, one of five permanent members with veto power.

Israelis are relying again on the United States to act as a buffer at the United Nations.

Let it be clear: They wont get what they want, former justice minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni told the Jerusalem Post. The Palestinian proposal wont be accepted. The world will reject this text. And, if necessary, the U.S. will use its veto power.

Although the United States has vetoed dozens of resolutions deemed anti-Israel in the past, this one comes at a particularly difficult time. Several Arab states that are sympathetic to the Palestinian position are part of the coalition battling the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and Washington is relying on their cooperation to keep the coalition from being exclusively Western.

Trying to avert a confrontation over the resolution, Secretary of State John F. Kerry summoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a three-hour meeting in Rome on Monday.

Kerry made no statement after the meeting, instead leaving for Paris to meet with the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and the European Union. On Tuesday, he is scheduled to be in London to talk with Erekat and the head of the Arab League, which has proposed its own peace initiative.

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Israel, Palestinians gird for showdown over U.N. resolution on withdrawal

Israels Natural Gas Supply Offers Lifeline for Peace

Warrick Page for The New York Times The Noble Energy plant in Ashdod, Israel.

THE TAMAR PLATFORM, Israel Alarms rang out across the Tamar natural gas platform off the southern coast of Israel.

The Israeli navy had detected smoky signs that a rocket might have been fired by Hamas from the shores of Gaza. As a voice over the loudspeaker warned to take cover, the crew raced up the metal stairs to a small gym that doubles as an air raid shelter.

It turned out to be a false alarm.

Natural gas is both a geopolitical tool and a target in Israel, where a newfound bonanza of resources has the potential to improve ties with energy-hungry Egypt, Jordan and even the Palestinian Authority.

But the linchpin of this diplomatic push is not an Israeli official, a Middle Eastern king, or an American ambassador. It is an oil company in Texas.

Noble Energy, the Houston-based company that runs the Tamar platform and is developing another field nearby, has struck a series of deals in recent months to sell gas from Israel to its neighbors, an export strategy encouraged by the Obama administration to help ease tensions in the region. Both Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have signed preliminary agreements in recent months, while Noble is in talks to supply larger amounts of gas to Egypt.

The corporate connection is crucial. As the main negotiator and broker, Noble is giving cover to leaders who could otherwise face political blowback for buying gas supplies in deals directly with the Israeli government.

What these deals demonstrate is that gas can be a tool for partnerships that are commercial with strong, positive geopolitical benefits, said Carlos Pascual, a former international energy coordinator at the State Department.

Noble Energy, which has a taste for risky exploration in unlikely places like the Falkland Islands and Nicaragua, started exploring here in the late 1990s. The platform was built in Corpus Christi, Tex., and transported by boat to its present site.

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Israels Natural Gas Supply Offers Lifeline for Peace

I hope MEPs will join me in voting to recognise Palestine

A legally binding vote to unconditionally recognise Palestine is the very least the EU can do, writes Keith Taylor.

Keith Taylor is a Green MEP from South East England.

A month later than expected after the last vote was postponed, on Wednesday, MEPs will finally vote on whether to recognise Palestine as a state. Ive added my name to the resolution and Im now urging MEPs to join me in showing solidarity to Palestine by voting in favour. Sweden recently joined the list of countries to formally recognise Palestine, with the UK, Spain and France also showing strong support. Its about time the EU as a whole followed suit.

For too long, Palestine has received mixed messages from Europe. The EU remains the single largest donor of foreign aid to Palestinians, yet it fails to take any meaningful action to stop Israel from breaching international law and human rights.

Of course, a vote in favour of recognition still leaves us a long way off securing a lasting peace in the region, but I believe it could be a vital step on the long road towards achieving full Palestinian statehood. It would also encourage those EU countries that havent yet recognised Palestine as a state to do so.

The most recent war between Israel and Palestine was yet another bloody chapter in a long and difficult history in the region – and like previous wars, it clearly highlighted a disproportionate use of force by Israel. In Israel, the death toll reached 70; whilst in Palestine 2,200 were killed. And while the majority of those killed on the Israeli side were soldiers, a shocking 69-75 % of Palestinians killed were civilians.

Like many, I was deeply saddened by the tragic deaths across the whole region, and I strongly condemn the use of violence on both sides.

The stark comparison in death tolls is important but the Israeli Governments shocking decision to approve thebiggest land grab of Palestinian territory in decadesis also very significant. The fact that they announced this just weeks after the last missile was dropped shows Israels clear disregard to any kind of peace process.

As a member of the EU delegation to Palestine, I had the opportunity to visit Gaza in 2011 and I saw first hand the effects of Israels incursion which touches every aspect of everyday Palestinian life.

Our entrance into Gaza was heralded by the sights of a territory under siege; dysfunctional public services, high unemployment and high poverty. The rubbish was piling up in the streets, in the rivers and on the beach.

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I hope MEPs will join me in voting to recognise Palestine

Jerusalem crisis: Amid violence, seeking paths to peace

Jerusalem For decades, Jerusalem has presented successive teams of Middle East negotiators with an array of complex and emotional issues that touch the heart of the Israeli-Arab conflict. It produces the highest of passions, but also unique opportunities to forge a solution.

Since July, political resentment, religious tensions, and social ills have boiled over into the worst violence the city has seen in a decade from the brutal revenge murder of a Palestinian teenager to the killing of rabbis at prayer in a synagogue pushing Jerusalem back into the global spotlight.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has decried Israeli political and security actions on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound as contamination and a declaration of war, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, en route to early elections, fired the most vocal supporters of Israeli-Palestinian peace in his government, in part, analysts say, for being soft on Jerusalem.

Is hatred and violence the inevitable destiny of the holy city?

Here we examine the key challenges and potential solutions for establishing a practical, sustainable peace in Jerusalem, sacred to more than half of humanity.

When the United Nations outlined the division of British Mandatory Palestine in 1947, it envisioned Jerusalem as an internationally administered city between two sovereign states. When the fighting over Israels creation in 1948 ended, the armistice line, which became known as the Green Line, divided the city between Israeli and Jordanian control.

In the 1967 war, Israel conquered the eastern half of Jerusalem and declared full sovereignty over the city as its eternal and undivided capital a move no major world power has yet recognized.

Palestinians call for a capital in East Jerusalem that is contiguous with the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the West Bank. They decry the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, where nearly all of Jerusalems Arab neighborhoods are located, and they demand that Israel withdraw to the 1949 Green Line.

The 2000 Clinton Parameters, outlined by then-President Bill Clinton, declared that the citys Arab neighborhoods should be apportioned to the future state of Palestine, while the Jewish neighborhoods including large blocs over the Green Line would be part of Israel. Israeli and Palestinian leaders approved that principle, though with caveats.

Palestinians seek separate municipalities within an open city, while Israelis insist on a physical border between the two halves a massive logistical undertaking given the interlocking patchwork of Jewish and Arab areas. Under a divided regime, the walled Old City the heart of Jerusalem and the epicenter for its holiest sites would also likely be divided, or administered by an international body.

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Jerusalem crisis: Amid violence, seeking paths to peace

Palestine and Israel should be let into EU, says author

The Dil agreed to officially recognise ing the state of Palestine and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Photograph: Jim Hollander/EPA

A main signatory of the Israeli petition calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state said Europeans should consider admitting Palestine and Israel into the European Union if both sides settle on a stable peace agreement.

Israeli writer AB Yehoshua joined fellow authors Amos Oz and David Grossman on a petition, signed by over 900 Israelis, sent to Dil ireann earlier this week calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state.

The Dil agreed on Wednesday night to officially recognise the state of Palestine and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. The Irish Government joins politicians in Britain, France and Spain who have passed similar motions calling on their governments to follow Sweden, which on October 30th became the first western EU member to recognise a Palestinian state.

Mr Yehoshua said he hopes the petition will hasten the peace process and encourage European nations to call for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

We thought the European community could encourage the Palestinians to go back into negotiations, Mr Yehoshua said. We will not let them go into total despair . . . without any help from the United States to push the two sides.

He says the ongoing occupation in the West Bank will only lead to catastrophe and the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and complete demilitarisation is the only viable solution.

This petition has been signed by intellectuals, writers, officers in the army: a list of meaningful people. We want to show [Palestinians]; dont despair, dont take the way of violence. You have European support so go and try to come to a conclusion.

Mr Yehoshua hopes for a change of leader in Israels general election next year. I pray with all my heart that Benjamin Netanyahu will lose. A momentum is building up in Israel that he will go. I feel people are really fed up with him. The election campaign has started and there are all good signs there will be a centre-left block.

He believes a European voice could be key to convincing both Israelis and Palestinians to resume peace negotiations.

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Palestine and Israel should be let into EU, says author