EU foreign ministers to meet Israeli, Palestinian counterparts

EU foreign ministers hold separate talks Monday with their Israeli and Palestinian counterparts on the prospects for lasting peace after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls for a future two-state solution.

The bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell risked incurring Israel's wrath by accusing it on Friday of having "created" and "financed" Hamas to undermine the prospect for a possible Palestinian state.

Borrell insisted the only way to get an enduring peace in the region was for a two-state solution to "be imposed from outside".

Hamas's surprise attack on Oct. 7 on Israel and the subsequent devastating military response from Israel has plunged the Middle East into fresh turmoil and sparked fears of a broader conflict.

But while the bloodshed appears to have driven a long-term solution further out of sight, EU officials insist now is the time to talk about finally resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The 27 EU ministers will first meet with Israel's foreign minister Israel Katz, before sitting down separately with the Palestinian Authority's top diplomat Riyad al-Maliki.

Katz and Maliki are not expected to meet each other.

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia will also hold talks with the European ministers.

The EU has struggled for a united stance on the conflict in Gaza as staunch backers of Israel such as Germany have rejected demands for an immediate ceasefire made from the likes of Spain and Ireland.

EU officials have sketched out broad conditions for "the day after" the current war ends in Gaza, calling for no long-term Israeli occupation, an end to Hamas's rule and a role for the Palestinian Authority in running the territory.

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