Saudi Arabia and the European Union launched a new initiative called the “Peace Day Effort” to put together an incentive package for Israelis and Palestinians in hopes of boosting Israeli-Palestinian peace process that has been frozen for the last decade.
Jordan, Egypt and the Arab League were also part of the initiative, whose inaugural meeting was held on Monday on the sidelines of the high-level session of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.
“We know that the parties are not prepared (at this stage). They are not prepared,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters in New York after the meeting involving representatives of 60 UN member states.
“We cannot sit idly repeating the Two-State Solutions mantra without doing (everything we can) to achieve it.
“The result of the meeting is a stronger commitment by many people to become more involved in this two-state solution, which is the only viable solution.
“There is no alternative” to a two-state resolution to the conflict and “there is no other viable solution.”
Calls for an independent Palestinian state
The initiative comes at a time when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government does not support a Palestinian state.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud told state television on Monday that there will be no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without a independent Palestinian state.
“The two-state solution must come back to the fore,” he added.
The United States is pushing for a security pact with Riyadh that would include a standardization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Washington, with Israeli gestures towards the Palestinians.
Israel has pointed to this pending agreement and other normalization deals with Arab states as evidence that Israel can advance its ties with the Arab world regardless of the issue of Palestinian statehood.
Borrell explained that while he welcomed “the agreements between the Arab countries and Israel… we have to work for peace between Israel and Palestine, and in that everyone has to make a contribution: the Arabs, the Europeans, the United States, everyone. around”. the world.”
The EU said three working groups had been established, including those on politics and security, economy and environment and the human dimension. Progress towards creating an incentive package by September 2024 will be evaluated every three months. A mechanism was also created to allow Israelis and Palestinians to interact separately with the initiative.
Those involved in the initiative support a two-state resolution to the conflict based on pre-1967 lines with adjoining Palestinian territory, the EU said.
UN Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo said it was important to “reduce tensions, end the cycle of violence and restore a political horizon. This requires political leadership,” she stated.