France says Europe must be more than 'bank window' in Israel, Palestinian conflict

PARIS Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:23am EDT

French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during the annual Conference of Ambassadors at the Elysee Palace in Paris August 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Christophe Ena/Pool

French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during the annual Conference of Ambassadors at the Elysee Palace in Paris August 28, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Christophe Ena/Pool

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PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday Europe had to play a bigger role to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and could no longer just play the role of a "bank window" for reconstruction after each war.

An open-ended ceasefire in the Gaza war began earlier this week as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced strong criticism in Israel over a costly conflict with Palestinian militants in which no clear victor emerged.

The European Union is the biggest aid donor to the Palestinian Authority and Israel's biggest economic partner, accounting for almost a third of its exports and imports.

However, it is deemed as having little influence in efforts to reach a negotiated solution between both sides.

"For a solution to finally be reached, the United States' role will be decisive," Hollande said in an annual speech to French diplomats outlining foreign policy objectives.

"But Europe's role is as important. It must act more. Europe does a lot to rebuild and develop Palestine, but it can't simply just be a bank window where we turn to heal the wounds after a recurring conflict."

Paris has already said that if peace negotiations ultimately fail then the international community would have to take the lead to find a solution.

"We have to go towards a progressive lifting of the blockade and the demilitarization of the territory," he said, referring to a British-French-German proposal for creating a Gaza monitoring mission.

Hollande said once the ceasefire was consolidated the path to peace would have to be taken as quickly as possible.

   "Everyone knows the conditions: a democratic and viable Palestinian state living side by side with an Israeli state living in security."

(Reporting By John Irish Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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Comments (4)
madmarty wrote:
All monies given to Gaza should be released as the strip demilitarises, why should the world keep rebuilding Gaza only for Hamas to start firing rockets again at Israel knowing only too well that it will retaliate and so teh cycle of violence will repeat
Aid should be strictly monitored in order that it goes to the people who need it and not lining the extremists pockets, this is our hard earned money

Aug 28, 2014 8:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
rgbviews wrote:
Why should anyone but the Israelis pay for reconstruction?

The official Israeli policy to destroy Palestinian society; people, economy, and buildings. This is an ongoing incremental process of ethic cleansing.

In 2008 the government of Israel adopted a doctrine called the “Dahiyya Doctrine” (reported by Haaretz Oct. 2008) to be the strategy for both its Lebanon and Gaza problems. The doctrine is the comprehensive destruction of areas in their entirety and the use of disproportionate force as punitive actions whenever there is violent resistance to Israeli actions. A Colonel Siboni from the army clarified that the doctrine is “ meant to inflict damage that would take ages to recover from”. According to the former chief of the Israeli army’s general staff the idea of maximum civilian death and destruction is to brand in the Palestinian consciousness the fearsome might of the Israeli Army …… ie. terrorism by definition.

Aug 28, 2014 9:43am EDT  --  Report as abuse
LoudLiberal wrote:
Reuters is as dishonest as the BBC. The headline implies that Europe sees itself as a “bank window” for Israel. The quotes in the story make it clear that Europe has been a bank window for the arab, islamist, fundamentalist, terrorists in the West Bank.

Keep up the good work, Reuters. No worries. Your credibility flew South a long time ago.

Aug 28, 2014 9:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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