EU — Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton on Israeli Gaza decision

Cather­ine Ash­ton, the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Union for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy and Vice-Pres­i­dent of the Com­mis­sion said: “I am very encour­aged by the announce­ment of the Gov­ern­ment of Israel. It rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment and a pos­i­tive step for­ward. Once imple­ment­ed, Israel’s new pol­i­cy should improve the lives of the ordi­nary peo­ple of Gaza while address­ing the legit­i­mate secu­ri­ty con­cerns of Israel.”

The High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cather­ine Ash­ton reit­er­at­ed the EU belief that the sit­u­a­tion in Gaza remains unsus­tain­able and the block­ade is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive, hurts ordi­nary peo­ple, pre­vents recon­struc­tion and fuels rad­i­cal­ism.

“We need to enable peo­ple to recon­struct their homes, to build schools, to improve infra­struc­ture, allow­ing busi­ness to revive so that peo­ple in Gaza can get on with their ordi­nary lives,” High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cather­ine Ash­ton added.

As stat­ed by EU for­eign min­is­ters last week, the EU is ready to sup­port Israel and the Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty in the open­ing of land cross­ings. The 2005 Agree­ment on Move­ment and Access and UNSC res­o­lu­tion 1860 should remain the key frame­work.

“I would also like to reit­er­ate that Gilad Shalit must be released imme­di­ate­ly,” Cather­ine Ash­ton said. “More work remains to be done. Imple­men­ta­tion is key. We want to work in part­ner­ship with Israel and the Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty to find a sat­is­fac­to­ry solu­tion – I am in con­tact with the Gov­ern­ment of Israel, the Pales­tin­ian Author­i­ty and the Quar­tet part­ners. We will con­tin­ue dis­cus­sions and exam­ine the details of the pro­posed changes and their imple­men­ta­tion. I hope that cur­rent efforts will not be under­mined. To make progress, an atmos­phere of calm, restraint and respon­si­bil­i­ty is of para­mount impor­tance,” Cather­ine Ash­ton con­clud­ed.

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union