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[EU Statement Archive

EU Policy

Statement of the Task Force on Palestinian Reform, 14-15 November, Jordan (dated 15/11/02)

The Task Force on Palestinian Reform, composed of representatives of the Quartet (U.S., EU, Russia and the UN Secretary General), Norway, Japan, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, met in Jordan November 14-15. This meeting, hosted by the Danish EU Presidency, was the Task Force's third, having met previously in London on July 10, and in Paris on August 22-23.

The role of the Task Force is to monitor and support implementation of Palestinian civil reforms, and guide the international donor community in its support for the Palestinians' reform agenda. Since its formation, the Task Force has worked with Palestinians to develop in greater detail the Reform Action Plan, which highlights Palestinian commitments, establishes benchmarks, identifies obstacles to reform and areas for donor assistance. The Task Force has done this by consulting directly with Palestinian executive and legislative officials, with Palestinian civil society, with the Israeli Government, and with the donor community.

Day-to-day activities of the Task Force are delegated to seven Reform Support Groups, composed of donor representatives working in the West Bank and Gaza, in the areas of Civil Society, Elections, Financial Accountability, Judicial and Rule of Law Reform, Market Economics, Local Government, and Ministerial and Civil Service Reform. The Reform Support Groups work to operationalize the reform plans and monitor implementation, inter alia through identifying appropriate benchmarks to measure successful implementation of - and barriers that impede - reforms.

At the meeting in Jordan, the Task Force reviewed status reports from the seven Reform Support Groups, which showed that progress in some areas has been considerable, while the reform process in others has been slow. Based on the reports from the seven Reform Support Groups, and consultations with Palestinian officials, the Task Force identified the highest priority actions in order to keep momentum in the reform process, including the immediate resumption of monthly transfers of Palestinian tax revenues and transfer of arrearages in accordance with an agreed monitoring mechanism to ensure transparency and financial accountability. The Task Force also met with Palestinian Authority ministers and Israeli Government representatives to discuss the steps, which need to be taken to facilitate the reform progress.

Given its serious impact on the Palestinian reform efforts, the Task Force also discussed the ongoing Palestinian humanitarian crises with particular focus on the follow-up to the report of the UNSG's special envoy Bertini. The Task Force recognizes that the continued violence and terror, continued restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, and deterioration of the humanitarian situation constitute a significant hindrance to reforms. Following the discussions in Jordan, the Task Force will provide a detailed progress report to the Quartet, which will meet in December 2002. The Task Force will also fully inform the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) which coordinates international donor support to the Palestinians. The Task Force considers these efforts critical to building the foundations of a viable, independent Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel.

Statement by the Presidency of the European Union on the attack in Hebron on 15 November 2002 (dated 16/11/02)

The Presidency of the European Union strongly condemns the abhorrent, cold-blooded and deliberate killings in Hebron last night, on the eve of the Shabbat of 12 Israelis.

Our deepest condolences and sympathy go to the bereaved families, to the injured and to the Government of Israel.

Hebron has for far too many years endured violent actions resulting in a high number of casualties in both communities. The complex and explosive mix of religion and politics in Hebron calls for utmost restraint and reconciliation on both sides and among all the communities.

Yesterday's disastrous attack, for which Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility, only serves to fuel hatred and risks undermining the ongoing efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to the conflict.

We call on the militants on both sides to lay down their deadly weapons and join the vast majority of the Palestinians and Israelis who only wish to get security, peace and prosperity for each of their peoples.

The EU remains committed to assist and push for a non-violent, negotiated settlement to the conflict.

EU demarche on 14 November 2002 to Israeli Prime Minister's Office on settler harassment and violence against Palestinian civilians (dated 18/11/02)

EU demarche on 14 November 2002 to Israeli Prime Minister's Office on settler harassment and violence against Palestinian civilians, in particular violations of Palestinian olive growers' safety, livelihood and property.

The European Union has expressed to the Israeli government its deep concerns over the increased level of settler violence against the Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories.

The harassment by individual settlers and the violent prevention of Palestinian olive farmers from harvesting their crops and the destruction of their olive trees is not acceptable. It comes at a time where thousands of Palestinian families are already hard hit by the economic consequences of conflict and occupation.

The Israeli government has been requested to step up its efforts to immediately and effectively protect Palestinian farmers, their families and their property. Palestinian civilians must be allowed to work and live free from threats against their livelihood and safety. Israeli police and security must continue and intensify measures to enforce law and order in the territories under its control.

The EU has also called for the attention of the Israeli authorities to the reportedly forced departure - due to settler shootings - of a hundred or more villagers from the village of Yanun. Their safe return and rehabilitation should be facilitated urgently.

The EU supports the declared policies of the Israeli government not to harm the civilian Palestinian population, to apply the rule of law and to prosecute individual or organized perpetrators of crimes and violence. Liability towards damage reparation and compensation must follow the rules of law.

Statement by the Presidency of the EU on the Israeli military attacks in Gaza, 7 October 2002

The Presidency of the European Union strongly regrets and condemns this morning's Israeli military attacks against a Palestinian neighbourhood of Khan Yunis in Southern Gaza killing at least 10 Palestinians, including children, and causing a very large number of injured.

The attacks come at a time where there was hope for a resumption of political talks on implementing the recommendations of the recent Quartet meeting in New York.

There can be no justification for military actions directed indiscriminately against civilian neighbourhoods, whether Palestinian or Israeli.

The EU Presidency expresses its most sincere condolences to the bereaved families and its wishes for the recovery of those injured by the attack.

The EU has consistently condemned the arbitrary use of extra judicial killings, which will not bring security to the Israeli people. Military and violent actions only serve to fuel hatred and undermine attempts by the parties and the international community to bring about reconciliation and hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict. The Presidency urges both sides to do their utmost to bring an end to violence.