"Today, 14 May, the EU enters its fifth decade of involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Four decades ago, on 14 May 1971, the EU – or rather its predecessor, the European Community – issued its first official statement on what it had identified as “the problem of the Middle East”. This, “the problem of the Middle East”, was the Israeli-Arab conflict, and the European Community concluded “that it is of great importance to Europe that a just peace should be established in the Middle East... While the EU's involvement in the conflict over the past four decades can hardly be considered a success, the EU has made one important contribution to peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – and that is that the Union has successfully defined and legitimised the historical principles of a future peace. This began in 1973 when the European Community issued a statement that recognised for the first time the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, followed by the European Community's recognition of their right to a homeland (in 1977), self-determination (in 1980), a state (in 1999) and, finally, a state with Jerusalem as capital (in 2009)"