World

Noam Chomsky urges Europe role in Mideast

MIT professor Noam Chomsky  spoke in Geneva
MIT professor Noam Chomsky spoke in Geneva

GENEVA — Europe could provide the key to success for a US-brokered resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians, MIT professor Noam Chomsky said Friday.

Without intervention by Europe, which could use its political and economic weight, the talks probably will not amount to much, Chomsky told reporters and guests at the Geneva Press Club, in a visit sponsored by the Swiss foreign ministry. But if Europe broke from American policies supporting Israel, he said, that could swing momentum toward a breakthrough.

Preliminary peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians agreed to after a shuttle mission by Secretary of State John Kerry are to begin in Washington on Tuesday.

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Both sides have low expectations for the new US peace initiative because Israeli-Palestinian talks over the terms of a Palestinian state have been frozen for five years amid disagreement even on the rules for negotiations, including the principles for drawing a border between them. ‘‘It’s hard to be optimistic, but Europe could play a role,’’ said Chomsky. ‘‘By and large, Europe has not developed an independent Middle East policy.’’

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He told reporters that Europe ‘‘consistently follows the US stand,’’ which he said punishes Palestinians whose land is settled by Israelis, and ‘‘there’s no reason why Europe should support illegal settlements.’’

Chomsky is a fierce critic of US policy and Israel.

Associated Press