Latin Patriarch to EU representatives: “The EU should play a much more important political role in the region”
JERUSALEM – On Wednesday, May 25, 2016, Mr. Ralph Tarraf, the Head of Delegation of the EU Assistance to the Palestinians, has met with His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, to speak about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and problems in the region.
Mr. Tarraf was accompanied by his wife and Mr. David Geer, the Deputy Head of Delegation of the EU Assistance to the Palestinians.
The Delegation will visit the Cremisan valley tomorrow afternoon where the Separation wall is currently being built, expropriating de facto lands belonging to Palestinian families without regard to the 1967 borders. “After an apparent victory with the Israeli Supreme Court, noted the Patriarch, they started last summer to build the wall, in reaction of the recognition by the Vatican of the State of Palestine. We don’t believe this wall is for security. There are more violences occurring on the other side of the wall, in Jerusalem. This wall is not for protection.”
While grateful to the members of the Assistance to the Palestinians, the Patriarch said that the “The EU should play a much more important political role in the region and not just helping financially”.
The Patriarch and Mr. Tarraf spoke about the conflict in Syria and its repercussions on the region without failing to mention the crisis of millions of refugees who must have the right to return one day to their countries.
The Patriarch also accentuated “the importance of consulting the religious leaders” concerning the problems in the region, the reality on the ground being often far removed from the political agenda. “Our voice is weak, we are just a voice. We are not a military nor an economic power, we are a small number, but we can raise our voice. Sometimes they accept to hear us, sometimes they don’t because we disturb, but we cannot keep silent as we only have the truth to say” stated the Patriarch to the two European diplomats.
Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Patriarch and the Head of Delegation stressed the necessity of a two-state solution. Mr. Tarraf emphasized the importance of a “negotiated solution” highlighting the “prescriptive” role of the European Union to find an “equitable and fair” solution to the conflict, referring in particular to the “1967 borders” and “Jerusalem as a capital of the two states”. Nevertheless, Mr. Tarraf noted that an “imposed” solution “will only lead to more violence”. The Patriarch welcomed this attitude while urging the Europeans “not to leave the two parties (Israelis and Palestinians) alone in the negotiations” pointing out the imbalance of power between the two parties : “the superpower on one side, and no power on the other side”.
World and European History has already showed that “the future belongs to those who bring down walls” noted the Patriarch, adding that “we are dreaming of this peace. We are condemned to live together, better as good neighbors than eternal enemies”.
Photos : ©LPJ / Thomas Charrière