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14 July, 2024
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Israel's Foreign Minister sparks controversy with island proposal in EU meeting

EU stresses two-state solution in response to Katz's videos


Israel's foreign minister, Israel Katz, ignited controversy during a crucial EU ministerial meeting on Monday.

According to a report on Euronews, the gathering, aimed at addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and seeking resolutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict, took an unexpected turn as Katz advocated for building an artificial island off the Gazan coast.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell, describing the meeting as "exceptional," dismissed Katz's intervention as "irrelevant" to the discussions. Borrell suggested Katz should focus on internal issues, criticizing the high death toll in Gaza.

Katz, newly appointed as Israel's foreign minister, presented two videos during the meeting. The first showcased a rail infrastructure project connecting Gaza with the West Bank, dating back to Katz's tenure as Israel's transport minister.

The second proposed an artificial island in the Mediterranean as a commercial hub linking Gaza globally.

The diplomatic source, speaking anonymously, revealed EU ministers' perplexity at Katz's pitch, considering it unrelated to ongoing peace negotiations. Notably, Katz did not suggest using the island for housing Gazans or tie it to the two-state solution.

Borrell emphasized the videos' limited relevance to the discussions, reiterating his commitment to the two-state solution as crucial for Israeli and Palestinian security.

The EU's moral obligation, according to Borrell, is to find and propose a solution, despite his controversial claim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been boycotting the two-state solution for decades.

The meeting followed Netanyahu's recent opposition to a Palestinian state, further emphasizing the EU's support for the two-state solution. Borrell stated that member states unanimously conveyed to Katz their belief in the creation of a Palestinian state as a pathway to lasting peace and Israel's security.

In the complex aftermath of the war between Israel and Hamas, tensions persist within the EU, with divergent responses to the conflict. Katz's proposal adds another layer of intricacy to diplomatic efforts, as the international community grapples with finding a viable solution for lasting peace in the region.

[With information sourced from Euronews]

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