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Spain leads EU calls for two-state solution after war in Gaza

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The Local Spain/AFP - [email protected]
Spain leads EU calls for two-state solution after war in Gaza
(From L) Spain's Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares Bueno and European Union Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell. (Photo by JOHANNA GERON / POOL / AFP)

The EU’s foreign policy chief on Monday insisted on an eventual two-state solution as he told Israel it couldn’t build peace “only by military means”, while Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister argued that now is the time to “implement” the Palestinian state.

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EU and Spanish officials on Monday January 22nd voiced their opinions on the need for a two-state solution ahead of talks with Israeli and Palestinian top diplomats.

EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell repeated the condemnation from the United Nations of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “unacceptable” rejection of calls for a Palestinian state after the war in Gaza.

“What we want to do is to build a two-state solution. So let’s talk about it,” Borrell said.

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He told Israel that “peace and stability cannot be built only by military means.”

“Which are the other solutions they have in mind? To make all the Palestinians leave? To kill them off?” Borrell said.

Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister José Manuel Albares also stated upon arriving in Brussels for talks on the Middle East crisis that “the realistic and viable” creation of a Palestinian state is the way to end the war in Gaza and key to creating stability in the Middle East.

“Spain is totally in favour of taking it one step further and not just talking about the two-state solution," Albares said, insisting that the time has come to “implement” the Palestinian state.

“It is no longer a matter of saying that we are in favour of the two-state solution. Obviously, the entire international community and the entire European Union is and this has been repeated on many occasions. 

“Spain's effort from the very first moment has been to implement that solution.” 

Back in November, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez publicly voiced the same opinion as his foreign minister regarding the "recognition of a Palestinian state". 

Other remarks he made casting "serious doubts" over the legality of Israel's actions in the war-torn Gaza Strip led Israel to recall the Spanish ambassador

READ ALSO: Spain's FM urges Israel to tell 'terrorists' and Gaza civilians apart

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The surprise Hamas attack on October 7th on Israel and the subsequent devastating military response from Israel has plunged the Middle East into fresh turmoil and sparked fears of a broader conflict.

But while the bloodshed appears to have driven a long-term solution further out of sight, EU officials insist now is the time to talk about finally resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The 27 EU ministers will first meet with Israel’s foreign minister Israel Katz, before sitting down separately with the Palestinian Authority’s top diplomat Riyad Al-Maliki.

Katz and Al-Maliki are not expected to meet each other.

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia will also hold talks with the European ministers.

Borrell said he had presented ministers from the bloc with a “comprehensive approach” toward trying to find a lasting peace including an international conference.

The top EU diplomat also risked incurring Israel’s wrath by accusing it on Friday of having “created” and “financed” Hamas to undermine the prospect for a possible Palestinian state.

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Borrell insisted the only way to get an enduring peace in the region was for a two-state solution to “be imposed from outside.”

The EU has struggled for a united stance on the conflict in Gaza as staunch backers of Israel such as Germany have rejected demands for an immediate ceasefire made by the likes of Spain and Ireland.

“The reports we are receiving, even as late as last evening, are dire in respect to what’s happening within Gaza,” said Ireland’s foreign minister Micheal Martin.

EU officials have sketched out broad conditions for “the day after” the current war ends in Gaza, calling for no long-term Israeli occupation, an end to Hamas rule and a role for the Palestinian Authority in running the territory.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in the death of about 1,140 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

Militants also seized about 250 hostages during the attacks, around 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza.

Israel has vowed to “annihilate” Hamas in response and its relentless air and ground offensive has killed at least 25,105 people, mostly women and children, according to figures from the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.

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