New York, NY, July 16, 2013 … Responding to today’s European Union announcement of increased pressure on Israel regarding settlements, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) rejected the E.U. statement 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.
The E.U. announced the end of “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.”
“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.
ADL’s letter also noted that settlements should not be considered an obstacle to peace, since successive Israeli governments from 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.