S&Ds call for peace between Israelis and Palestinians through an end to occupation

Middle East Peace

Looking in-depth at the Middle East Peace Process, the S&D Group is hosting a two-day conference in the European Parliament today and tomorrow, with prominent speakers from Israel, Palestine, Europe and the United States.
 
In his opening speech, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella MEP said:
 
“After 50 years of occupation and almost 25 years after the Oslo Accords, a silent, tacit approval of the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to prevail. But in the meantime, this endless occupation leads to a constantly deteriorating reality for millions of Palestinians and, in a different way, for millions of Israelis. 50 years after the Six-Day War, we have to say it clear and loud: the occupation of Palestine must come to an end and a just and lasting peace must be achieved between Israelis and Palestinians, and between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. Our conference today is a unique opportunity for discussion among progressives on how we can best contribute to keeping the hope of peace in the Middle East alive."
 
S&D Group vice-president Elena Valenciano MEP said:
 
“The S&D Group has been playing a leading role in the European Parliament with regard to the Middle East Peace Process, and we are determined to continue on this path. The time has come for the European Union to play a genuine political role in this process. The international community needs to learn from the past in order not to make the same mistakes again in the future: the parameters of the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are evident but the political will to implement them is lacking. This conference is about exploring the ways how progressives political actors and the civil society are able to retrieve and reinforce that political initiative. This is not only a matter of existing or non-existing countries: this is about a people that have been suffering for 70 years of conflict and 50 years of occupation.”
 
S&D Group vice-president Victor Boştinaru MEP said:
 
“The story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not only about wars and negotiations, it is first and foremost about human beings on both sides. This reminds us that peace will never be achieved by arms or walls, but by people. It is in this spirit that the S&D Group has supported civil-society organisations bringing together Israelis and Palestinians to work on joint projects over the past years. We are proud of our fruitful collaboration with the Parents Circle - Families Forum and with EcoPeace Middle East, to name just two of our partners. While peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved through a political process, it can only be sustainable through popular support generated by civil society. Therefore, protecting and supporting civil society on both sides remains of crucial importance.”