July 16, 2013
Baroness Catherine Ashton
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission
Dear Madame Vice President:
We were disturbed to learn of today’s announcement that EU support will not be available for Israeli entities existing or having activities beyond the Green Line, and that the EU will demand language on territorial applicability in all future agreements with Israel. While we are not aware that any such funding has occurred, the political message of increasing pressure on Israel regarding settlements is clear.
The European Union has termed Israeli settlements as an “obstacle to peace,” despite the fact that successive Israeli governments since the start of the peace process, including the current one, have maintained that construction beyond the Green Line does not contradict the Israeli commitment to a negotiated resolution of all the core issues. In fact, Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly said that he is ready to begin negotiations immediately and without pre-conditions. His statements stand in stark contrast with President Abbas’s insistence on Israel meeting Palestinian pre-conditions to resume negotiations.
The guidelines announced today were based on the EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of December 10, 2012. Those same Conclusions and many previous EU statements have also called for the parties to “engage in direct and substantial negotiations without pre-conditions” and to end “incitement.”
We must ask, Why hasn’t EU support to the Palestinian Authority been conditioned on removal of its publicly expressed pre-conditions to return to negotiations with Israel? Why hasn’t EU 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 EU 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 EU, much less condemnations, only encourages continued Palestinian recalcitrance and negatively influences the search for peace that we all support.
We respectfully urge that the EU hold the Palestinian Authority responsible, in word and in deed through your vast financial support, for its failures to promote peace.
Abraham H. Foxman