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French Version

European Council Declaration on the Middle-East

Peace in the Middle East is an imperative. The European Council calls upon the Israeli and Palestinian people to break the endless cycle of violence.

It reiterates its strong and unequivocal condemnation of all acts of terrorism. Suicide attacks do irreparable damage to the Palestinian cause. The European Union supports the efforts of those Palestinians seeking to take forward the reform process and to bring an end to the violence.

It appeals to Israel to facilitate those efforts. While recognising Israel's legitimate security concerns the European Council calls upon Israel to stop excessive use of force and extra-judicial killings, which do not bring security to the Israeli population.

Violence and confrontation must give way to negotiations and compromise. The international community, including the parties, share a common vision of two States, Israel and an independent, viable, sovereign, and democratic Palestine, living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the 1967 borders. All efforts should now be directed at translating this vision into reality.

As a result the European Council attaches the highest priority to the adoption on 20 December this year by the Middle East Quartet of a joint road map with clear timelines for the establishment of a Palestinian State by 2005. The implementation of the road map must be based on parallel progress in the security, political and economic fields and should be closely monitored by the Quartet.

In this context, the European Council is alarmed at the continuing illegal settlement activities, which threaten to render the two-State solution physically impossible to implement. The expansion of settlements and related construction, as widely documented including by the European Union's Settlement Watch, violates international law, inflames an already volatile situation, and reinforces the fear of Palestinians that Israel is not genuinely committed to end the occupation. It is an obstacle to peace. The European Council urges the Government of Israel to reverse its settlement policy and as a first step immediately apply a full and effective freeze on all settlement activities. It calls for an end to further land confiscation for the construction of the so-called security fence.

Decisive steps must be taken to reverse the sharply deteriorating humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza, which is making life increasingly intolerable for ordinary Palestinians and fuelling extremism. Humanitarian access and the security of humanitarian personnel and their installations must be guaranteed.

With the aim of supporting the reforms in the Palestinian territories, the EU will continue its budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority with clear objectives and conditions. The EU calls on other international donors to join this engagement also with a view to coherent efforts for reconstruction. Israel on its part must resume the monthly transfers of Palestinian tax revenues.

The European Union is determined to continue the work with its partners in the Quartet to assist Israelis and Palestinians alike to move towards reconciliation, negotiations and a final, just and peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Brussels,01 07 2003
European union
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