Visit of a delegation from the Embassy of the Netherlands in Cairo to discuss the latest developments in the Middle East Peace Process
On January 13, 2022, ECFA Director Dr. Ezzat Saad received Minister Plenipotentiary Wierish Ramsoekh, Deputy Head of the Netherlands Mission to Cairo, at his request, accompanied by Ms. Judith Adriaanse, First Secretary of the Embassy; He asked to get acquainted with the latest developments in the Middle East Peace Process, the potential chances for finding a sustainable solution, and Egypt’s efforts in this regard.
At the request of the delegation, ECFA Director delivered a brief overview of the latter. On his part, the guest stated that they are following the developments of the Palestinian file and sense that there is nothing on the horizon, which suggests the imminent resumption or movement of the peace process, adding that there may be a need to “think outside the box”, and that the EU Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Sven Koopmans, of Dutch nationality, has some ideas to be considered. The guest raised the possibility of receiving the aforementioned in ECFA when he visits Cairo in the future, which was welcomed by ECFA Director, who asked whether the EU Representative had served in any of the countries of the region, which was denied by the guest.
ECFA Director presented Egypt’s efforts to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation and the process of reconstruction and stabilization of the truce. He also made clear that the asymmetric warfare in Gaza that took place last May, which is called by Israel Operation “Guardian of the Walls”, has proven that the issue of the Israeli occupation of Palestine is still strongly present on the international agenda, and that any talk about the so-called economic peace and improving the standard of living of the population under occupation without a real political process that leads to an independent and sovereign Palestinian state in accordance with the international legitimacy resolutions, is a waste of time. He added that a crisis of this complexity and danger to international peace and security should not be left by the international community to Egypt and Jordan alone. In this context, it was emphasized that the recognition of Palestine by the European Union states, which did not recognize Palestine as an independent and sovereign state, could move the file and send a message to Israel that its evasion from the commitment to peace must have an end, including helping to stop the settlers’ transgressions and continuing settlement policies in particular.
In response to the guest’s inquiry about the possibility of establishing a regional system for collective security alike the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, ECFA Director commented that the Arab side fully expressed its good intentions in this regard when it became involved in the Madrid Peace Process in 1991/1992, whereby multilateral working groups were formed to discuss all the region’s issues, and that his country hosted some meetings of these committees. However, the rise of the far right in Israel increased the latter’s pressures to remove the Palestinian cause from the regional and international agenda. Then the “Deal of the Century” adopted by the previous U.S. Administration came to confirm the United States’ lack of interest in finding a just settlement for the Cause, in the absence of any effective role by the European Union, while President Biden seems now preoccupied with his internal agenda and unable to move the situation. In this context, ECFA Director called for the importance of reviewing the recent decision taken by the Netherlands classifying a Palestinian civil society organization as “terrorist”, similar to what Israel did in October 2021, given that this organization and others provide support to the Palestinians under occupation, while revealing many of the Israeli violations in the occupied territories.