The Anti-Defamation League denounced Tuesday new European Union guidelines on engagement with West Bank settlements.
The E.U. said earlier Tuesday it would end “the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the E.U. from 2014 onwards.”
The ADL said it rejected the E.U. claim that settlements are an obstacle to peace and accused the E.U. of bias for not pressuring the Palestinian Authority to drop its pre-conditions for peace negotiations and end anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement in official Palestinian media.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly said he is ready to re-start negotiations immediately and without pre-conditions,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “President Abbas has blocked the process with his pre-conditions, so who does the E.U. pressure? Israel. Who gets a free pass? The Palestinians.”
In a letter to Baroness Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Mr. Foxman wrote: “We must ask, why hasn’t E.U. support to the Palestinian Authority been conditioned on removal of its publicly expressed pre-conditions to return to negotiations with Israel? Why hasn’t E.U. support to the Palestinian Authority been conditioned on an end to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement on official Palestinian media?
“To be seen as unbiased in its engagement in the Middle East Peace Process, the E.U. must end its long-standing habit of not holding the Palestinian Authority responsible for its actions and inactions that are unequivocally obstacles to peace. The lack of consequences from the E.U., much less condemnations, only encourages continued Palestinian recalcitrance and negatively influences the search for peace that we all support.”
Following the announcement by the EU, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held an emergency meeting with Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to discuss the matter.
Netanyahu slammed the decision saying, “We will not accept any outside diktat about our borders, this issue will be decided only in direct negotiations between the sides.”
“This is an over-eager bureaucratic process that can have far-reaching ramifications that Israel cannot agree to and which are liable to significantly hurt Israeli-EU cooperation in Research and Development, education, culture and scientific exchanges,” Elkin told The Jerusalem Post. And, he added, “it badly hurts the diplomatic process and [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry’s efforts.”
A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that the ruling was an “earthquake” which unprecedentedly turns “understandings and quiet agreements that the Union does not work beyond the Green Line” into “formal, binding policy.”