The Knesset delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM), headed by MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Camp), succeeded in annulling the PA delegation’s proposal to amend the Union’s diplomatic roadmap, which includes joint projects and cooperation between the region’s countries.
The PA’s proposed amendment blamed the humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip on the “occupation,” the blockade of Gaza, and the settlements (which have been uprooted back in 2005).
MK Margalit, who presented an outline for cooperation between the countries of the region, said, “This is a triumph of initiative over intimidation. The economic cooperation we presented in the Assembly caused the European Parliament to rethink its course.”
MK Margalit called on the members of the European Parliament to “join initiatives which promote peace, rather than those which move peace further away.”
The PA representative, Zuhair Sandouka, attacked Israel during a meeting of the Assembly’s Committee on Political Affairs, Security and Human Rights, claiming that Israel tramples on the human rights of PA Arabs. “We want a state; we want to be free and not dependent on Israel’s graces,” he said.
But Sandouka’s statement was cut short by Committee Chairman Renato Soru, an Italian member of the European Parliament.
The Knesset’s diplomatic adviser Oded Ben-Hur, who took part in the efforts to foil the PA’s proposal, said PA-UfM is planning to initiate further cooperation between the region’s countries – including Israel and the Arab states – on issues such as innovation, energy, agriculture and more.
The Union for the Mediterranean is a unique, intergovernmental Euro-Mediterranean organization gathering all 28 countries of the European Union and the 15 countries south and east of the Mediterranean, to enhance regional dialogue and cooperation amongst its member states.