Israel attacks EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell for his position on the Gaza conflict. Israeli diplomacy decided that it would no longer consider it as a valid interlocutor of the European bloc in the conflict in the Middle East because it “placed itself on the Palestinian side”. Nor will he accept the peace plan that seeks to promote, with the help of the international community, a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine. This forceful reaction comes barely 24 hours after Borrell defended an initiative to stop the destruction in the Gaza Strip before the foreign ministers of the 27 member states.
“Israel has lost confidence” in Borrell and “does not consider him a balanced interlocutor within the EU,” official Israeli sources told EL PAÍS. The authorities of this country reject the 12-point plan presented Monday by the head of European diplomacy and debated with ministers and which provides for the holding as soon as possible of a “preparatory” peace conference and parallel talks with the parties willing to negotiate until it is possible for the two main interlocutors to sit down at the table and agree on a solution which must inevitably involve the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside the Israeli, in accordance with the road map drawn up.
According to the sources consulted, the straw that broke the camel’s back was his attitude towards the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Israel Katz, during the Foreign Affairs Council held on Monday in Brussels. There, Borrell (and a considerable part of the European ministers) appeared surprised by the videos presented during the debate, quite far from the subject of discussion, which was the destruction in Gaza. But Borrell had been increasingly irritating Israel for several weeks.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has remained silent so far, but is taking strict note of what it considers to be an increasingly inappropriate tone from the head of European diplomacy. Outrage was growing at least from his call to “impose” a peace solution on the region from the outside, as he said at the start of the year in Lisbon, to his controversial statements last Friday in Valladolid, where he accused Israel of having financed Hamas and which, according to the sources consulted, were statements by Prime Minister Netanyahu taken out of context. “Hamas was funded by the Israeli government with the aim of weakening the Palestinian Authority led by Fatah (a political organization founded by former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1958, 10 years after Israeli independence),” Borrell said after being named doctor. honoris causa by the University of Valladolid.
But the element that most irritated Israel was the ironic tone used by the high representative after the meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels when commenting, during a press conference, on the decision of the head of Israeli diplomacy, Israel Katz, to show two of the videos – one of a proposed artificial island off the coast of Gaza and the other of a rail link – which, in Borrell’s words, “had little or nothing to do with » with the issue under discussion, measures to mitigate the conflict.
“I think the minister could have used his time better to be concerned about the security of his country and the high number of deaths in Gaza,” Borrell told reporters. Diplomatic sources consulted by this newspaper admit that Katz’s decision to show these two long-term projects while European ministers were pressing him to alleviate the grave humanitarian situation of the Palestinian population in Gaza surprised at least several people present. Despite everything, Israeli diplomacy claims that Borrell was aware of Katz’s intention to make this presentation and considers that Borrell’s attitude does not correspond to the Israeli Foreign Minister’s desire to attend the meeting in Brussels. , where they also went. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki and his Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudi counterparts, as well as Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
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In statements on Tuesday, before knowing the Israeli reaction, Borrell once again defended the two-state solution and declared that Israel could not have a “veto” over the creation of a Palestinian state. While it was clear from Monday’s ministerial meeting, he added, we must “keep talking and discussing” to “find ways to implement a solution.”
The high representative “went too far and placed himself on the Palestinian side”, says Israel, for this reason, “he no longer represents the EU line in the conflict in the Middle East”. As a result, the sources add, Israel “will not consider its peace plan reliable and will continue to work to promote collaboration with the EU through other interlocutors.” Despite the diverse positions of the Twenty-Seven on the current conflict and Israel’s actions, as evidenced by the vote at the UN on resolutions calling for a ceasefire, the position of two states as the only viable and lasting solution , rejected by the current Israeli government, is shared by the bloc.
Despite this, the sources emphasize, without adding more details, “Israel will maintain its good relations with the EU.”
Faced with Borrell’s attitude, Israel greatly appreciated the initiative – very controversial in Brussels – of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who quickly visited the country with the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, following the attack. Hamas terrorist attack on October 7. The German maintained, especially in the first days of the conflict, a position considered too biased towards Israel – “Israel has the right to defend itself”, she declared alongside Netanyahu – that she only clarified after criticism from community partners who openly asked her to demand respect for international law in the military response deployed in Gaza.
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