Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org
the Official Journal of the European Union (EU) on Friday published its
guidelines stating that all future agreements with Israel will apply only to
the pre-1967 lines, Israel expressed concern that unelected European bureaucrats
are seizing control of major policy decisions from the continent’s governments.
Click photo to download. Caption: EU flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels. Credit: Amio Cajander via Wikimedia Commons.
“Israel must be concerned about the EU’s
decision because it proves that the revolution of bureaucrats and diplomats in
Europe has begun,” a source close to the EU in Brussels told Israel Hayom. “In effect, instead of
governments dictating policy, the bureaucrats are the ones who dictate facts on
The EU announcement came despite heavy pressure
from the U.S. and Israel to freeze implementation of the guidelines, which
govern EU policy toward Israeli entities or their activities beyond the pre-1967
lines and go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. On
Thursday, a day before the guidelines were published, the EU’s office in Israel
said that Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had all telephoned European Commission
President Jose Manuel Barroso to discuss the guidelines.
Israeli embassy officials in Brussels who are
charged with maintaining contact with the EU tried to fish out certain details
of the document weeks before it was published, but to no avail. Sources in
Brussels said a small coterie of diplomats in the European Commission’s Middle
East Department had denied anyone access to the document.
“They worked in great secrecy,” a source told Israel Hayom.
On July 17, Netanyahu held talks with a long
list of European leaders to protest the development, stressing that it could
interfere with the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks—a renewal that
was ultimately announced by Kerry on Friday, though a date for the first
meeting between the parties has not yet been confirmed. The Israeli government
did not issue any official statement on the EU directive, but various
government spokespeople have begun questioning Europe’s utility as a player in
the peace process, given its latest “one-sidedness and clear bias,” as Deputy
Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin put it Friday in an interview on Israel Radio.
Going even further, some officials in Jerusalem,
such as Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee, are sounding warnings about “Europe’s unexplained obsession.”
“Someone needs to explain to them that there are
other, more pressing matters that they should busy themselves with,” Lieberman
said. The former foreign minister has suggested taking drastic action, such as
excluding the EU from anything having to do the peace process and discontinuing
all contact with it on the Palestinian issue.
Elkin is now echoing these sentiments, saying
that Israel must not succumb to Europe’s pressure.
“The not-too-distant past has proved that when
you capitulate, you end up paying a much heavier price, such as when Hamas
participated in the Palestinian elections for example. If we don’t put a stop
to this, we have to consider whether we are interested in Europe’s involvement,”
Meanwhile, 31 Knesset members from Israel’s governing
coalition and opposition last Thursday signed a letter to Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu in which they asked him to respond to the EU’s …read more