‘What Policy?’: Israel Rejects EU High Representative Borrell’s Criticism of New Government

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Photo by Esty Dziubov/TPS on 19 September, 2019

 By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 26 April, 2020

Israel issued a sharp condemnation of the European Union’s (EU) High Representative Josep Borrell after he threatened Israel with diplomatic action following the new government’s announced wish to declare sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz established a new government and agreed to move forward with the annexation of parts of Judea and Samaria, as delimitated in the US’ Deal of the Century peace plan unveiled by President Donald Trump.

Borrell stated that the EU “does not recognise Israeli sovereignty” over what he described as “the occupied West Bank,” and that the EU “reiterates that any annexation would constitute a serious violation of international law.”

“The European Union will continue to closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and will act accordingly,” he stated ominously.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated Friday that it “notes with regret” that Borrell, “who strives to lead the foreign relations of the European Union,” has “chosen to welcome the new government of a central partner of the European Union in such a manner, and that he opts to see the relations between Israel and the European Union solely through the narrow prisms of the Coronavirus and of the “status of the territories.”

Borrell said in his statement that the EU “is willing to closely cooperate with the new Government on fighting the coronavirus.”

“Considering the depth of our relations, and in light of the fact that, once again, a similar proposed statement did not receive the support of the EU member states only yesterday, we wonder what policy the distinguished gentleman is vying to represent,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The 27-member bloc held a vote on Borrell’s text, and eight of the members opposed it.

Israeli Foreign Minister Katz thanked “our friends in Europe who opposed Mr. Borrell’s announcement and prevented the adoption of this text by the European Union.”

“These states recognise the value of their relations with Israel, and together with them, we will continue to advance Israel-EU relations,” he added.

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