Saturday, 6 Jun 2020 - 14 of Sivan, 5780

‘We never said that the EU Foreign Affairs Council would discuss sanctions against Israel’

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Several member states, including France, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg want to discuss the possibility of strong measures against Israel should the new Israeli government – to be sworn in on Sunday- decide to go ahead with the annexation of some parts of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and the Jordan Valley in accordance with the Trump Middle East peace plan.

 

”We never said that the Foreign Affairs Council would discuss sanctions against Israel,” the EU foreign affairs spokesperson told European Jewish Press on the eve of a video conference meeting of the 27 EU Foreign Ministers during which they are expected to exchange views on the Middle East Peace Process and the Southern Neighbourhood.

The comment came after reports said that several member states, including France, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg want to discuss the possibility of strong measures against Israel should the new Israeli government – to be sworn in on Sunday- decide to go ahead with the annexation of some parts of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and the Jordan Valley in accordance with the Trump Middle East peace plan.

The coalition agreement between Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’ Blue and White, signed last week, states that annexation can be brought to a vote in the cabinet or Knesset on July 1 at the earliest. The composition of the new government was due to be announced late on Thursday.

Earlier this week, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell told journalists that the issue of a possible annexation will be ‘’the most important item on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council on Friday. ‘’I hope that there, the European Union will present its position about a possible annexation. We already did at the beginning [of the year], when the Americans presented their so-called “peace plan”. We already did it, we will do it again,’’ Borrell added.

In the meantime, the EU is waiting for the the new Israeli government to be in office and to send congratulations. Borell said he hopes to have a  phone call  with the new designated Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, a former IDF chief of staff. ‘’With the information I can have from this contact I will go to the Foreign Affairs Council where we will discuss what is going to be the position of the European Union,’’ he said.

According to an EU official, ‘’any reaction to the new government will depend on the program it will approve or plans it will announce.’’

But Borrell apparenty prefers to ‘’wait and see’’ how the new Israeli government will act.

In the meantime the swearing in of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White Benny Gantz’s new government, scheduled initially on Thursday, has been postponed until Sunday because not all the ministerial posts have been allocated.

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