E.U. Mulls Return to Gaza Border

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CBNNews.com - On Monday, European Union ministers said they would consider resuming their "monitoring mission at Rafah" (the crossing point between Gaza and Egypt), which ended with the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip last June.

Following a meeting in Brussels, the EU issued a statement calling "on all parties to work urgently for the controlled reopening of the crossings in and out of Gaza for both humanitarian reasons and commercial flows."

The statement expressed the EU's deep concern "about recent events in Gaza and the grave disturbances at the border between Gaza and Egypt…and sympathy for the civilian populations affected by the violence in Gaza and in southern Israel [and condemns] the continued firing of rockets into Israeli territory and all other activities that are contrary to international law and endanger civilians."

The statement called for the release of kidnapped IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit.

"[The] EU reiterates its call for the immediate release of the Israeli soldier abducted 19 months ago and commends efforts, including by partners in the region, to that effect."

In an accurate reflection of EU policy, the statement refuted Israeli sovereignty over its capital, referring to the recent controversy over building in Har Homa, a southern Jerusalem suburb.

"The EU considers that settlement building anywhere in the occupied Palestinian territories is illegal under international law. This includes Israeli settlements in both east Jerusalem and the West Bank [Judea and Samaria]. Settlement construction is an obstacle to peace. The EU is therefore deeply concerned by recent settlement activity, particularly the recent tenders issued for new construction in Har Homa. The road map is clear that Israel should freeze all settlement activity, including the natural growth of existing settlements, and dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001."

Meanwhile, the statement also included a reference to Palestinian terrorism.

"Palestinians [must] declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducing and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere."

EU ministers are in favor of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah forces taking control of the Rafah crossing.

Abbas is slated to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on Wednesday.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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