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The Brief: How are the elections in Israel being viewed in Brussels?

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The Brief: How are the elections in Israel being viewed in Brussels?
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IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA
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Israel is today holding another national election, the second since April.

Whoever ends up in charge of the country, the chances are slim that the situation in the West Bank will change.

Brussels is monitoring the tight race between the right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival, the centrist Benny Gantz.

For one MEP, the peace process in the Middle East is at stake.

"The two-state solution is not very close we don’t even have a process for it, but I think it is really important now that we have a better relationship because it has been a lot of tension between the European Parliament and Israel and I don't think that is fruitful," Swedish MEP Tomas Tobe explained.

The EU continues to support a two-state solution and has condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

"We repeat the call on Israel to end all settlement activity and to dismantle the outposts that have been erected since march 2001," European Commission spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said.

However, both candidates have said they want to continue Israel expansion in the West Bank.

"Now is not the moment for confrontation. Now is not the moment to increase conflict. Now is the time to make agreements that go in the right direction and the European Union should be available to seek possible ways of understanding," Spanish MEP Iratxe Garcia said.

After the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018, some EU member states wanted to do the same. This would amount to a shift in Europe's approach to the peace process.

And other news in The Brief...

The European Parliament increased support for higher education and research.

MEPs voted through a 100 million euro top-up for the flagship programs ERASMUS and HORIZON 2020. These programmes support student mobility and academic research.

The European Parliament is set to urge the member states to implement the already agreed anti-money laundering rules in national law. Poor cooperation and information-sharing between national authorities are seen as the main obstacles to prevent criminal financing.

The vote on the resolution takes place on Thursday.

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