The European Union is launching a diplomatic campaign to stop Israel from applying sovereignty over parts of the Judea and Samaria region, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell declared on Friday. “We must work to discourage any possible initiative toward annexation,” he said.

The EU is threatening the Jewish State with economic sanctions, if the country’s new government goes ahead with applying sovereignty over the region. Some EU member states, led by France, are “calling for a tougher line on the issue, including possible sanctions,” BBC reported. These measures include blocking Israel from reaching new trade agreements with the 27-member bloc and ending economic, academic, and technological cooperation.

The threat from Brussels comes as the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu-led unity government is expected to be sworn in on Sunday. Netanyahu’s main coalition partner, leader of the center-left Blue and White Party, Benny Gant, has decided to “not stand in the way of the bill” allowing Israeli sovereignty over the region, media reports suggested.

Israel’s application of sovereignty over Judea and Samaria is in keeping with U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the Middle East unveiled in January. The plan advocates for extending Israel’s sovereignty to over 30 percent of Judea and Samaria. Israel gained control over the region from Jordan in the defensive war of 1967. Judea and Samaria are part of the historic Jewish heartland.

The Times of Israel reported the latest EU threats to Israel:

The EU will make a diplomatic push to try to stop Israel going ahead with a plan to annex parts of the West Bank, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said Friday.

Josep Borrell said the bloc would use “all our diplomatic capacities” to try to dissuade Israel’s incoming government from going ahead with the move, approved under US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan.

While EU countries are alarmed at the prospect of annexation, which they say would violate international law and harm the chances of peace, they are divided about what action to take against Israel.

“What everybody agreed is we have to increase our efforts and reach out to all relevant actors in the Middle East,” Borrell said after talks Friday between EU foreign ministers.

“We are ready to do that and we will do that in the next days using all our diplomatic capacities in order to prevent any kind of unilateral action,” Borrell said.

The push will involve talking to Washington and Arab countries as well as Israel and the Palestinians, Borrell said. (…)

Ahead of the [Friday’s] meeting, there were reports that several European nations led by France, and including Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg, expressed support for threats of punitive action in a bid to deter the new Israeli government.

Borrell, who succeeded Federica Mogherini as the EU foreign policy czar late last year, is known for his anti-Israel stance. The 73-year old Spanish socialist has a track record of supporting the ‘Palestinian Cause’ and the Iran nuclear deal. The problem is not limited to Borrell alone. A report released by Israeli government on Wednesday showed how the EU was funneling millions on euros to Palestinian charities and activists groups linked to terrorist groups. Some of these outfits are run by convicted murders and ‘former’ terrorist masterminds. The EU even wrote a letter to these charities recently, assuring that “membership in or affinity to a terrorist organization does not automatically prevent a person from being eligible to participate in EU-funded programs or receive funds,” the Israeli report found.

Unlike the EU, the United States administration seems to be supportive of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s planned move. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Prime Minister Netanyahu, his coalition partner Gantz and other senior members of the incoming Israeli government. According to news reports, he discussed the issue of sovereignty over the region as well.

The  Trump administration was willing to recognize the Israeli decision, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said. “Washington is preparing to acknowledge an Israeli move to apply sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and in the Jordan Valley as of July 1,” newspaper Israel Hayom reported on May 15 citing an interview with the U.S. envoy. The “US is ready to recognize” the Israel move, the Israeli daily confirmed. In a similar move, the Trump administration recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in March 2019. Israel took control of the area in the 1967 war when Syria used the strategic heights to stage an attack on the Jewish state.

Foreign policy czar Borrell: EU to ‘discourage’ Israel’s  annexation steps (May 15)
[Cover image via YouTube]


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