They discussed the situation following the implementation of Israel’s Disengagement Plan and the continuing problem of Palestinian terrorism.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met today (28 August 2005) in Jerusalem with European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Secretary-General of the Council of the EU Javier Solana. They discussed a number of topics, including the situation following the implementation of Israel’s Disengagement Plan in the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria and the continuing problem of Palestinian terrorism, in view of this morning’s suicide-bombing attack in Beersheba.
At a ministry press conference following their meeting, Foreign Minister Shalom noted that, following the successful and non-violent disengagement, "the world is interested in the strengths of Israeli democracy." He pointed out that, as Israeli control over the Gaza Strip is ending, the EU must recognize this fact and help the Palestinian Authority to follow through with its commitments under the Roadmap. "We have passed a great test of Israeli democracy," Shalom said.
With regard to today’s terrorist attack, Minister Shalom noted that, once again, his hometown of Beersheba was the target of a suicide bomber. "It was a miracle that there was no loss of life," Shalom said, but added: "This latest attack proves once again how little is being done by the Palestinian Authority to halt terrorism."
Shalom also asserted that the attack shows the necessity of completing the erection of the security fence. "Israel is committed to the Roadmap," he said, "and we must seize the present opportunity to return to negotiations for peace."
Minister Solana deplored the Beersheba attack on behalf of the EU, saying it condemns "every act of terrorism."
With regard to the disengagement, Solana praised Israel’s "courage and professionalism" in carrying out what the EU commends as "this first phase of disengagement." He stressed the democratic nature of Israel’s decision and said the EU is willing to try to help with subsequent phases. "We must not lose momentum and hope," he said, adding that the EU "wants to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, and will work to make this a reality." Solana said the upcoming day of the Gaza Strip handover will be "a day of celebration."
At their meeting the two ministers discussed measures against terrorism, with Shalom praising the EU for placing Hamas on its list of terrorist organizations. Shalom urged the EU similarly to ban Hizbullah.
Minister Shalom also expressed Israel’s concern over the emerging Iranian nuclear threat, which he termed "a threat to the entire international community."