E.U. Plans to Push Peace Deal in 2009

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - An internal European Union document, outlining the EU's plans to push for the establishment of a Palestinian state in 2009, has many Israelis concerned.

The document, written by the French Foreign Ministry, calls for pressuring Israel to reopen the Orient House, the Palestinian Authority's (PA) former headquarters in Jerusalem.

Israel closed down the Orient House in August 2001, after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 15 Israelis, including seven children, at the Sbarro pizza restaurant in central Jerusalem.

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, foreign ministers of EU member nations plan to discuss the issues outlined in the document at an upcoming meeting.

The paper, entitled "The EU Strategy for Peace in the Middle East: The Way Forward," calls on US President-elect Barack Obama to be actively involved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

It also backs the PA's demand for sovereignty over east Jerusalem, rather than affirming Jerusalem as the eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish state.

"A key part of building the Palestinian state involves resolving the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states," the document proposes. "The EU will work actively toward the reopening of the Palestinian institutions, including the Orient House," it states.

The EU document also calls for turning over more of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank ) to the PA and reaching a "just, fair and realistic" solution to the return of so-called Palestinian refugees to Israel.

And, it states that the EU "expects a complete freeze of all settlement activities, including natural growth, and including [Jewish neighborhoods] in east Jerusalem."

The document further states that "The EU will continue to send clear messages to Israel and examine practical ways to exert more influence on these issues, including [tax penalties] on goods from settlements."

Source: Haaretz

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