Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, has accused Israel of financing Hamas to “weaken the Palestinian Authority of Fatah.”
The diplomat, who has prepared a 10-point roadmap for a potential peace process, did not provide concrete evidence to support his claim.
In scathing comments made during a speech at the University of Valladolid in Spain, Borrell also accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “personally” derailing any attempt to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The bad news is that Israel, in particular its government, is completely refusing – and yesterday Netanyahu said it again as if he was anticipating my words today – to accept a (two-state) solution that he has personally been boycotting for the past 30 years,” Borrell said.
His plain-spoken words came just a day after Netanyahu rebuked calls made by Washington to establish a Palestinian state after the war and scale back Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
“We believe that a two-state solution should be imposed from the outside to bring peace,” Borrell explained.
“But I insist, Israel, by continuing to reject this solution, has gone as far as to create Hamas themselves. Yes, Hamas has been financed by the Israeli government in an attempt to weaken the Palestinian Authority led by Fatah,” he added.
The so-called two-state solution – which would deliver statehood for the Palestinians – is the overarching goal desired by Western allies in post-war Gaza.
Borrell had previously described the objective as Israel’s “best security guarantee.”
During his visit to Lebanon earlier this month, the bloc’s top diplomat said that the creation of a Palestinian state was the “only viable solution that could bring peace and security for Israel and Palestine.”
But during Friday’s speech, Borrell lamented how “everyone except the Israeli government” is calling for the solution.
Since the eruption of conflict in the Middle East last October, Borrell has led EU calls for a de-escalation in hostilities. He has also called for humanitarian pauses in the besieged Gaza Strip to “evolve” to a permanent ceasefire that would allow political peace negotiations to start.
“If we don’t intervene strongly, the spiral of hate and violence will continue from generation to generation, from funeral to funeral, when the seeds of hate that are being sown in Gaza today grow,” Borrell told the audience in Spain.
In his speech, delivered as he received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa, Borrell also took aim at extremist Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
“The international community considers them (the settlers) to be illegal, but has done nothing to address this illegality,” Borrell said, adding that the settlers are today more “violent” than before the eruption of conflict on October 7.
The European External Action Service (EEAS), the bloc’s diplomatic arm headed by Borrell, is mulling following the US and the UK’s lead in sanctioning settlers responsible for violence in the West Bank.
However, according to diplomatic sources, it is unlikely that foreign ministers will approve the planned sanctions on settlers when they gather in Brussels on Monday.