Reminding the Palestinian Foreign Minister of the European Parliament’s resolution of 2018 that called for the safe return of all held Israelis, MEP Charlie Weimers’ questions were sidestepped, as the FM called on all EU member states to support the Palestinians against Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” peace deal.
By LAHAV HARKOV
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki declined to answer what the PA is doing to bring about the release of the four Israeli captives in Gaza, during remarks to the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
MEP Charlie Weimers, of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, pointed out that the European Parliament passed a resolution in 2018 that called for the safe return of Israelis Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed and the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, held by Hamas.
“What is the Palestinian Authority doing to ensure the safe return of Israeli civilians currently held against their will in Gaza?” Weimers asked.
The MEP pointed out that the UN adopted resolution 2472 on “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict – Missing Persians in Armed Conflict” in June, reaffirming the importance of giving the captives’ families information about their missing relatives.
“Hamas blatantly violates this,” Weimers stated, adding that Hamas denies the captives “care by the International Red Cross, all in complete violation of international law and moral decency.”
A source in the committee said Maliki showed “uncomfortable” body language and did not reply to the question.
Maliki reiterated the Palestinian position on the Trump peace plan and about Israel generally, calling Israel an apartheid, colonial state.
He also called on all EU member states to recognize Palestinian statehood.
Palestinians aren’t saying “no for the sake of no,” Maliki said, adding that the Palestinians are ready for peace talks without preconditions. He then added the precondition that the talks must adhere to parameters of past UN resolutions.
Ambassador to the EU and NATO Aharon Leshno-Yaar also addressed the committee, calling the US peace plan an opportunity to restart negotiations between the Israel and the Palestinians. He suggested both sides take the positive aspects of the plan and start talks from there.
Leshno-Yaar emphasized the importance of Israel and Europe working together to combat Iran’s nuclear ambition.
The ambassador also expressed pride at casting his vote in the Knesset election. Voting in embassies and consulates began on Wednesday, with Wellington, New Zealand as the first poll to open.
Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani addressed the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee as well, mentioning its status as one of the largest donors to UNRWA, in an attempt to close the gap left after the US stopped funding the organization serving Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
He also said Qatar encourages the Palestinians to negotiate directly with Israel and to talk to the US.
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