JCPA President Steve Gutow
— by Benjamin Suarato
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) today reaffirmed its support for U.S.-led efforts to restart direct negotiations between Israel and Palestinians. The call came in response to issuance of new European Union (E.U.) guidelines restricting its economic engagement and other activities with Israeli entities beyond the so-called “Green Line” (pre-1967 armistice lines). The guidelines do not affect economic activities of individual E.U. member countries. The JCPA described this action as “one-sided pressure.”
“A final and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the two parties. Permanent borders must be mutually agreed upon, not imposed by outside parties like the European Union,” said JCPA Chair Larry Gold.
More after the jump.
Europe is, and long has been, an important economic partner of Israel’s, and it maintains close ties to the Palestinians as well. These relationships should be used as leverage to help bring the two sides together. This one-sided pressure contributes to a growing movement to isolate and unfairly blame Israel alone for the stalled peace process. We join with Israeli President Shimon Peres and other Israeli leaders in calling on the E.U. to reconsider the decision.
JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow added:
Last week, we were in Washington, D.C. with the American Task Force for Palestine to express our mutual support for the U.S. efforts, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, to facilitate resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. That is why we are dismayed by the E.U.’s decision this week, which we believe only complicates those efforts. What’s more, these unhelpful guidelines fail to distinguish between the West Bank, Gaza and the Old City of Jerusalem. There has been a virtually uninterrupted Jewish presence in Jerusalem for three millennia, with the exception of twenty years (1948-67) when Jews were denied the right to visit their holy places.