A two-state solution would be the answer to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, officials of Arab states and the European Union agreed at a meeting in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday.
They said the Palestinian Authority, rather than Hamas, should rule Gaza.
European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said during the meeting in Barcelona that all EU members and almost everyone else attending agreed on the need for a two-state solution.
The Palestinian Authority must hold elections and improve its governance, but it is the only “viable solution” to the future leadership of Gaza to avoid a “power vacuum,” Borrell said.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the Palestinian people should decide who rules them and that any talk of administration of Gaza after the conflict should focus on the West Bank and Gaza as one entity.
A two-state solution envisages a state for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip alongside Israel.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said the Palestinian Authority, which lost control of the Gaza Strip in a 2007 power struggle with Hamas, had no need to return to Gaza, adding, “We have been there all the time. We have 60,000 public workers there.”
The three officials spoke at the conclusion of a meeting of the Union for the Mediterranean, a 43-member grouping of European, North African and Middle Eastern countries.
Israel did not attend the summit. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan spoke as a representative of a group of ministers from the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The original four-day truce between Israel and Hamas has been extended by 48 hours to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza. This is the first lull in the seven weeks since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages into Gaza, according to Israeli tallies.
In response to that attack, Israel bombarded the enclave and mounted a ground offensive in the north. Some 14,800 Palestinians have been killed, Gaza health authorities say, and hundreds of thousands displaced.