Connect to share and comment

Money for peace: EU offers Israel, Palestine aid for peace deal

The package would include increasing bilateral relations to both places with a so-called “Special Privileged Partnership," that could be worth billions of euros.

eu israel financial aidEnlarge
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton on Sept. 7, 2013, before the Meeting of EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs at the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius, Latvia. (SUSAN WALSH/AFP/Getty Images)

The elusive quest for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal has frustrated diplomats and negotiators for decades.

Although it seems like everything has been tried before, the European Union has announced a novel but not entirely unpredictable way to bring the two sides together: money.

On Monday, the EU said that it would offer both Israel and Palestine "unprecedented" financial, political and security support if they reach a final status peace agreement.

“The EU will provide an unprecedented package of European political, economic and security support to both parties in the context of a final status agreement,” a statement from the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, a congregation of EU foreign ministers, said.

“In the event of a final peace agreement the European Union will offer Israel and the future state of Palestine a Special Privileged Partnership including increased access to the European markets, closer cultural and scientific links, facilitation of trade and investments as well as promotion of business to business relations.”

Israel reacted to the offer with apprehension.

“These are empty words, meaningless generalities. The offer, the way it looks now, has no concrete content at all and seems somewhat unrealistic,” an Israeli diplomatic official told The Times of Israel.

Another Israeli official, commenting on the resolution, told the Jerusalem Post: "They say they will dangle some carrots, but what kind of carrots – what size, how many – is not determined."

The declaration is said to have struck a different tone from past EU statements on the peace process, which sharply condemn Israeli's settlement expansion and led to a policy of banning business between the 28-member bloc and Israelis living in the West Bank.

The new statement also said that it supported the US-led peace negotiations that officials are currently trying to organize, praising the Secretary of State John Kerry's "tireless engagement."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/131216/money-peace-eu-offers-israel-palestine