Following a four-day visit to Gaza and the West Bank with a European
Parliament delegation, Green Party MEP for the South East Caroline Lucas has
warned that the Middle East peace process will fail unless political leaders
recognise a Palestinian unity government – and insist on an immediate end to
the blockade of Gaza.
Speaking about her trip to the region, Dr Lucas, who is also Green Party
“The UK’s Secretary of State for International Development has today said
it's crucial that Palestinians come together for reconciliation –and I would
certainly agree with him. Yet the EU's refusal to recognise the previous
unity government because it contained elements from Hamas – though
democratically elected – was instrumental in dividing Palestinians and
“If the Palestinians can put together a government of genuine unity, based
on tolerance, pluralism, and a commitment to previous peace process
agreements that include the recognition of Israel, then it is the
responsibility of the international community to accept it – regardless of
whether or not it contains members of Hamas.
“And indeed, a process of dialogue and reconciliation between the different
Palestinian factions is already emerging. The political leaders gathering in
Sharm-el-Sheikh this week for a conference on aid and the reconstruction of
Gaza must recognise the need to support this political process and work
towards bringing the West Bank and Gaza under unity control. More aid may
provide short-term relief for the humanitarian crisis, but it is merely a
sticking plaster on what is essentially a political struggle.
“There are already tonnes of aid piled up at the border into Gaza, but the
continuing Israeli siege is preventing it from reaching the people who need
it most. When I met with UN officials in Gaza this week, I was told that
around 750 trucks a day are needed to maintain essential supplies.
Currently, Gazans are lucky to see around 30.
“So, the international community must demand an urgent lifting of the siege
on Gaza, and ensure the free movement of people, as well as goods, for the
whole of the West Bank and Gaza Strip – in other words, the first steps
towards ending the occupation, so that the Palestinian people can be allowed
to start rebuilding their economies and communities.
Dr Lucas concluded: “Unfortunately, the main threat now to a two-state
solution is the Israeli authorities’ continuing aggressive expansion of the
settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the further extension
of the apartheid wall. Israel must be brought to account for this continued
flouting of its commitments under both the Oslo Accords and recent peace