Position of the European Union on the hearing in the International Court of Justice on the Israeli wall
Madam President, I have great respect for the President-in-Office, but today he has been forced to demonstrate very dramatically to us just how incapable the European Union is of adopting a clear position on one of the most important issues of the day. We did not even have a subdued voice – we had no voice at all.
What did we do? We abstained on a highly important issue where legality is very much at stake. Because it is not – and I totally agree with Mr Cohn-Bendit on this – as if we are talking about a wall running along a clearly defined border. That is something you can either support or oppose. But you, Mr President-in-Office, have said yourself that the wall has been built deep into Palestinian territory, and the European Union has said the same. Just when it comes to such a step, to an annexation of this kind, and when consideration is being given to whether such border fortification can be the subject of a legal judgment, we simply say `sorry, we do not have a view, each state can do whatever it likes´. So what is the point of working towards a Common Foreign and Security Policy if when it comes to the most important questions we just say that we do not have a view? That is the slogan, the motto if you like, of the Common Foreign and Security Policy on this issue. I think it is shameful.
We are not talking about condemning Israel in a one-sided way. Once again, I totally agree with Mr Cohn-Bendit: anyone who condemns and criticises this wall should equally not only condemn any kind of terrorist activity, but also endeavour to combat it.
We will not, however, achieve anything by adopting a position like this. By taking the position of actually not saying anything at all on this important question, we alienate the Palestinians, but that does not mean that in return we will win over the Israelis, because although Israel has of course brought pressure to bear for us not to adopt a position on this, that does not mean that they will involve us more closely in the peace process. And I find it sad that Europe"s foreign ministers and Heads of State have not recognised that and grasped the implications. You were left with no alternative today but to present the situation to us as you have, Mr Roche.
I have two further questions for you, for the presidency that is. The first question relates to Mr Sharon"s plans to remove the majority – not all so far, but the majority – of settlements in the Gaza Strip. What does that really mean? Removing the settlements – excellent, well done Mr Sharon, I hear you say. But does it mean that other areas, particularly in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, will be extended? My question to you, Mr President-in-Office, is this: has the European Union at least adopted a clear position on this? Support for clearing settlements from these areas is fine, but we should in no way be offering our support or agreement if it means that other areas in the West Bank are to be annexed.
My second question for you relates to the Americans" big talk about a new Middle East plan in the widest sense of the term. Joschka Fischer expressed his opinion on this at the NATO security conference in Munich. Does the European Union know anything about this plan? Does the European Union have anything to say about this plan, and does it also include concrete measures to tackle the heart of the problem – Israel and Palestine? It would be interesting if the European Union and the Council could say something about that.