The European Union, on its website (Europa), under the "External Relations" section, in a Dec. 2005 entry titled "The Middle East Peace Process," contained the following:
"1. EU Position on the Middle East Peace Process
The achievement of lasting peace in the Middle East is a central aim of the EU, whose main objective is:
a two-State solution leading to a final and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on implementation of the Road Map, with Israel and a democratic, viable, peaceful and sovereign Palestinian State living side-by-side within secure and recognised borders enjoying normal relations with their neighbours in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1402, and 1515 and on the principles of the Madrid Conference;
a fair solution to the complex issue of Jerusalem and a just, viable, realistic and agreed solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees.
a solution in the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese tracks;
The EU sees a need to address political, economic/humanitarian and security issues simultaneously, wherever necessary via negotiations between the Parties. It recognises that continued and comprehensive Palestinian reforms are necessary. The EU stresses the need, however, for Palestinians to be confident that their institution-building efforts will lead to a viable and functioning state. A significant positive step was Israeli/Palestinian agreement on issues of movement and access reached in November 2005, which the EU wishes to see implemented in full. The EU calls for further steps, including the freezing of settlement activities and dismantling of settlement outposts and Israeli abstention from measures which are not in accordance with international law, including extra-judicial killings and collective punishment.
The EU unreservedly condemns terrorism, violence or incitement, which cannot be allowed to hold the peace process or stability in the region hostage. Terrorist attacks against Israel have no justification whatsoever and the EU has included Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other armed Palestinian groups in its list of banned terrorist organisations. The EU recognises Israel’s right to protect its citizens from these attacks, but emphasizes that the Israeli Government, in exercising this right, should act within international law and take no action that aggravates the humanitarian and economic situation of the Palestinians. The assumption of full control of security by the PA in areas under its authority is a key test for the Palestinian Authority and the EU urges it to show determination in the fight against extremist violence and to confront individuals and groups conducting and planning terrorist attacks.
2. Support to the Middle East Peace Process
The role of the EU in the Middle East Peace Process has increased over the years. It actively contributes via:
EU participation in the Quartet, including the political, financial and human resources support provided by the Community in 2005 and 2006 to the Quartet Special Envoy for Disengagement, James Wolfensohn;
EU bilateral relations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority (on behalf of the PLO), which are underpinned by Association or Interim Agreements and by European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plans adopted in 2005;
The facilitation of regional dialogue through the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Barcelona Process), which remains the only multilateral forum outside the United Nations where all the conflict parties meet;
Confidence-building measures, including electoral observation activities funded by the European Commission: free and fair elections are an essential step to guarantee the success of the Road Map. Further confidence-building measures include EU monitoring of the proper implementation of the Israeli/Palestinian agreement on operation of the Rafah border crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and Community assistance to help build up PA border control capacities.
The organisation of trilateral policy dialogues with participation of the European Commission and the Parties on transport, energy and trade.
Assistance aimed at creating the conditions for peace, stability and prosperity in the region:
to promote Palestinian economic, social, political and security sector reforms, which includes tackling governance issues;
to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees and
to bring together civil society actors from Israel, the occupied territories and neighbouring countries via the EU Partnership for Peace programmepdf file;
The EU is the largest donor to the Palestinians and to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Since the beginning of the second Intifadah in September 2000, EU assistance reflects a mix of emergency support, more medium term institution building measures and support to the reform process. In this context, the conditions attached to EU financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority have led to vastly improved public finance management.
In 2005, the Commission in addition established an infrastructure facility to assist the Palestinian Authority in the context of the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The EU is also since 2005 actively engaged in security sector reform, inter alia via efforts to reform Palestinian civil policing (EUCOPPS). The Commission recently launched a €7m assistance programme to support judicial reform and promote the Rule of Law, which complements work on civil policing.
Together with Norway, the EU co-chairs meetings of the international donor mechanism, the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee for Assistance to the Palestinians (AHLC). The EU is also closely involved in reviewing international and local donor coordination structures, and in local donor co-ordination on issues of electoral reform, financial accountability, judicial reform and humanitarian assistance, working with the PA to advance the reform plans, monitor implementation and identify appropriate benchmarks and barriers that impede reform. The EU focus on governance issues will continue under the reformed local donor coordination structures put in place in December 2005.
The EU is the biggest trading partner and a major economic, scientific and research partner of Israel. The Union is also a major political and economic partner of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt."