Borrell worried about Rafah and violence in the West Bank

Borrell worried about Rafah and violence in the West Bank

The Munich Security Conference ends. This Sunday morning, February 18, there was a lot of talk about the situation in the Middle East, about this possible Israeli offensive on the town of Rafah, at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, but also about the humanitarian crisis, or even the medium-term prospects in the enclave and in the West Bank.

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The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, participated this Sunday, February 18 in the morning in the Munich Security Conference. Josep Borrell said that tensions in the West Bank, where attacks by settlers against Palestinians have increased, constitute “ the real obstacle » to a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.

I’m surprised because everyone is talking about ending the war in Gaza, but no one has talked much about the West Bank, which is the real obstacle to the two-state solution », Judged the official from the podium of the Munich Security Conference. “ The West Bank is in turmoil, the level of violence against the Palestinians has been increasing since October 7, it was already very high before that “, he recalled.

Western countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France, have imposed sanctions against certain Israeli settlers deemed “ extremists », including the freezing of their assets. Last year, 26 wild settlements, unrecognized by Israel, appeared in the West Bank, a record, according to the NGO Peace Now. Of the 26, around ten were established after the start of the war on October 7.

Read alsoOccupied West Bank: record number of illegal settlements in 2023, points out the NGO Peace Now

On the subject of the Gaza Strip, Josep Borrell reiterated his warnings, his apprehensions, against an offensive on Rafah by the Israeli army due to the humanitarian consequences. He also said that “ Hamas was an idea, that you could not kill an idea, but that you had to find an alternative. » This is also what came up in the speeches of the other participants this morning, reports our special correspondent in Munich, Pascal Thibaut.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi had very harsh words against Israel and against what an offensive towards or on Rafah could cause. Tzipi Livni, who is in opposition today to the Netanyahu government, former Israeli foreign minister, stressed that she supported the Israeli offensive because of the threat that Hamas posed to the Jewish state, while advocating for a two-state solution.

The two-state solution in the medium term is what the participants pleaded for this Sunday. We also heard it from the mouth of the Palestinian Prime Minister present in Munich, Mohammad Shtayyeh, who said that this solution was in the interests of the Israeli state. But since this is currently rejected by Israel, he felt that external intervention was necessary to put pressure on Israel to achieve such a goal.

Read alsoIsraeli-Palestinian conflict: a two-state solution discussed at the Munich conference

(And with AFP)