The European Union is asking Jerusalem to weave the rope with which they will come to hang Israel, a senior diplomatic official said Wednesday in response to reports that the EU is interested in negotiating with Israel over its redlines in the West Bank.
Haaretz on Wednesday published an internal document drawn up by EU officials in Brussels that outlined the content of a sharp message regarding Israel’s construction beyond the Green Line and its policies in the West Bank that the EU’s Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen has been instructed to deliver at the “highest possible level” in the Foreign Ministry and National Security Council.
According to the document, the EU “considers the preservation of the two-state solution a priority.
The only way to resolve the conflict is through an agreement that ends the occupation which began in 1967, that ends all claims and fulfills the aspirations of both parties. A one-state reality would not be compatible with these aspirations.”
The document goes on to say that the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council has on several occasions expressed concern about the impact of continued settlement expansion and called on Israel to halt it, “including in east Jerusalem and especially in sensitive areas such as Har Homa, Givat Hamatos and E1.”
The document “cautions” Israel not to go ahead with tenders and construction in what it called the “possible new settlement of Givat Hamatos.”
The message Faaborg-Andersen is to relay also states that the EU is “extremely concerned” about plans to relocate “up to 12,000 Beduin without their consent in a new town in the Jordan valley, expelling them from lands in the West Bank, including the E1 area.”
The EU “strongly urges Israel to put these plans on hold and search for other solutions together with the concerned populations and the Palestinian Authority. The EU underlines that implementing those plans may amount to a serious breach of international humanitarian law (IV Geneva Convention),” the document reads.
These and other questions need to be “thoroughly discussed” between the EU and Israel, the document maintains.
This dialogue “should remain informal and not public and should not affect or be related to the existing framework of bilateral dialogue.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon declined to respond to the document, saying “there is no reason for Israel to respond to something that it did not get from the European Union.” He said the EU ambassador has not requested any high-level meetings in the Foreign Ministry.
One senior diplomatic official said the move “smells of sanctions,” and that it seems the Europeans want to negotiate with Israel over what will be considered “acceptable or unacceptable” behavior so sanctions can be imposed on the “unacceptable” steps.
It was unlikely Israel would agree to this type of formula, he said.
A European diplomatic official said the idea reflects growing frustration in European capitals with Israel’s continued building beyond the pre-1967 lines, especially after some of those same capitals gave Israel “diplomatic cover” during Operation Protective Edge.
“You see an impatience with Israel, no peace talks, no American leadership, and frustration in the EU by those who feel they gave Israel space to operate during Operation Protective Edge, and in return got 4,000 dunam declared state land in Gush Etzion and Givat Hamatos,” the official said.
According to the official, the idea for this type of document started among EU consul-generals in Jerusalem, who traditionally have taken a very pro-Palestinian position. It was then picked up by civil servants in Brussels and agreed upon at the ambassadorial level. There has not been, however, any decision on the matter at higher political levels, such as by foreign ministers.
The idea of negotiating with Israel over these matters represented a “middle ground between member states who want punitive measures and those who want an open approach to Israel,” the official said.