Saturday, June 11, 2011

'West must support Palestinian unity'

Source: Press TV

Twenty-four former heads of government, foreign ministers, and peace negotiators have written an open letter calling on the international community to support Palestinian unity.

“In particular, we urge the United States and the European Union to constructively engage with the transitional government as well as with the Palestinian leadership that results from the elections next year,” the 24 high-profile figures said in the letter, Der Spiegel reported on Friday.

In early May, the Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed a deal in Cairo to establish a unity government and agreed to form an interim cabinet of technocrats and non-partisan figures to lay the ground for national elections to be held within a year.

“Asking Fatah to choose between making peace with Hamas and making peace with Israel presents a false choice: a lasting peace with Israel is only possible if Hamas is on board,” the letter added.

The writers of the letter described the establishment of political and institutional unity between Gaza and the West Bank as “an obvious pre-condition for the establishment of a unified and viable Palestinian state.”

In conclusion, they said, “By supporting Palestinian unity at this vital juncture, the US and the EU have an opportunity to show their commitment to the two-state solution as well as to the democratic aspirations currently being voiced throughout the broader Middle East. The alternative is hard to contemplate. If Palestinian reconciliation is undermined, it will throw the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into an even deeper impasse, with dramatic consequences for all parties and the international community at large.”

Former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine, former Dutch Prime Minister Dries van Agt, and former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami were among the signatories.

Peace activists have hailed the reconciliation deal between the two Palestinian groups as essential for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and have condemned the Zionist regime's efforts to undermine the initiative.

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