The Commissioner has assured me that any aid mechanism designed to meet humanitarian needs will not compromise the three international conditions.
Statement by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni following meeting in Jerusalem with EU Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Benita Ferrero-Waldner
I am extremely pleased to welcome once again Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner in Israel.
Only last week I participated in the Association Council gathering in Luxemburg, and held important discussions with the leadership of the European Union. The relations between Israel and the EU are special and unique. Israel values the relations and cooperation with the European Union and especially in light of the recent positive developments in our relations.
Regarding the conflict in the Middle East, I believe that Israel and the EU share the same values as well as a common understanding: that two nation-states, living side by side in peace and security, is the just and right solution to the conflict. Even if there may be some differences between us, in the future, they are tactical, regarding the right means, to reach the common goal. Therefore, by definition, they will not affect our unique relationship. Israel is committed to peace and security in the Middle East. We have taken painful and dramatic steps towards this end in the past, and are ready to do so in the future.
After the elections in the Palestinian Authority, we face new challenges which could affect the entire region. Here too, the international community and Israel believe in the same principles: no legitimacy can be given to a terror organization or a government led by a terror organization. At the same time, the Palestinian people should not be punished, and we should find ways to provide them with humanitarian aid. We see this as our moral values. It is necessary to preserve the clear distinction between humanitarian aid to the Palestinian population and helping directly or indirectly, the Hamas-led government. These basic principles are accepted by the entire international community.
We are well aware of the difficulties in the implementation of these principles in the everyday life. In this context, I have received from Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU proposal for a temporary international mechanism, which is limited in scope and duration. We appreciate the effort that has been invested in it. The mechanism is supposed to facilitate the implementation of these principles in the everyday life. The Commissioner has assured me that any aid mechanism designed to meet humanitarian needs will not compromise the three international conditions with which Hamas must comply in order to become a legitimate political partner.
Israel will study the mechanism in detail in accordance with the principles I have outlined, namely: giving aid to the Palestinian population while not legitimizing the Hamas-led government. In this regard, we will continue our ongoing discussions and consultations with the US, the European Union and other Quartet members.
Commissioner, you are received in Israel as a true friend and a partner to the building of a new and better future in the region.