Friday, April 15, 2011
EU Increases Pressure on Netanyahu to Accept Arab State Inside Israel
The European Union (EU) has resorted to making vague threats against Israel’s Prime Minister-designate, Binyamin Netanyahu, to pressure him to support the “the two-state solution,” which calls for the creation of an Arab state of Palestine inside the current borders of the Jewish State.
EU members spoke on the subject after a weekend session of EU foreign ministers that was held at the Hluboka castle in the Czech Republic – which is the EU’s current rotating president.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Swarzenberg was asked whether a failure to reach a two-state agreement between Israel and the PA would hurt the EU’s relations with Israel, and answered: “The relations would certainly become problematic. We shall discuss the repercussions of this matter in one of our next meetings,” he said.
German Foreign Minister Franz-Walter Steinmeier said that “we Europeans insist that, regardless of the governments on both sides, the two-state solution must top the agenda.”
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said that the upgrading of trade relations between the EU and Israel depends on the conclusion of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Some of the EU foreign ministers seem to be drawing encouragement from U.S. President Barack Obama’s statements on the subject this week. Obama's commitment to the Middle East “peace process” early in his term means "there is real hope for progress in the region," Swarzenberg said.
This is the second time in less than a month that the EU has threatened Israel with dire consequences if it does not agree to the “two-state” solution. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana warned that the EU would “reevaluate its ties with Israel” if the new government does not continue down the road to the creation of a state of Palestine.
"Let me say very clearly that the way the European Union will relate to an [Israeli] government that is not committed to a two-state solution will be very, very different," he said earlier this month.