New York, NY, October, 24, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed concern over continuing one-sided criticism of Israel by the European Union for the lack of progress in achieving a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Last week on October 19, Baroness Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, characterized Israeli construction activity in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem as threatening “to make a two-state solution impossible.” However, Ms. Ashton chose to omit any criticism of the Palestinian Authority for their steadfast refusal to return to the negotiation process following her meeting last month with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“The European Union consistently ignores the Palestinian refusal to resume direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “Considering the EU’s emphasis on the need for negotiations to put an end the conflict, we would hope that the EU would clearly and publicly say to the Palestinian Authority that its intransigence is unacceptable and that this type of conduct will not lead to a resolution of the conflict.
“Ms. Ashton will be in Ramallah tomorrow and should take the opportunity to make such a public comment.”
In a letter to the Vice President of the European Commission, ADL conveyed that the EU’s continuing failure to call on the Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations increases the likelihood that the Palestinians will proceed with unilateral steps for recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations General Assembly and evade their obligations to negotiate the terms of a Palestinian state with Israel.
With regard to construction in Gilo, ADL noted that, as matter of national policy, the Israeli government does not distinguish between different parts of its capital, Jerusalem. However, since the start of the peace process, successive governments, including the current one, have maintained that construction of housing in any part of Jerusalem does not contradict the Israeli commitment to a negotiated resolution of all the core issues.
“We must ask, why has the European Union not publicly called on the Palestinian Authority to drop its pre-conditions and return to negotiations?” Mr. Foxman wrote to Ms. Ashton. “Respectfully, we urge you to forcefully and publicly criticize Palestinian intransigence.”