EU restrictions on institutions that are active beyond the Green Line will harm peace talks, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon and 25 pro-Israel parliamentarians from around the world declared Monday night.
The lawmakers, members of pro-Israel caucuses affiliated with the Israel Allies Foundation, presented a letter expressing “deep concern” about the guidelines and urging that their implementation be halted, at a press conference with Danon in Jerusalem.
“These counterproductive directives, which come at a time of newly relaunched peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians will only serve to hamper the chances of serious bilateral negotiations between the two sides, and are a disincentive for the Palestinian Authority to engage in serious negotiations,” the letter reads.
The parliamentarians point out that when the Middle East is facing a time of upheaval and Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons, a “lopsided focus on unilaterally pressuring Israel is woefully misguided at best and discriminatory and inimical at worst.”
The lawmakers, from the US, EU, Canada, Brazil, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Macedonia, Poland, South Africa, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Uruguay, are attending the Israel Allies Foundation Jerusalem Chairman’s Conference, which began Sunday.
The Israel Allies Foundation, led by former MK and tourism minister Rabbi Benny Elon, coordinates the activities of dozens of pro- Israel caucuses in parliaments around the world, which aim to increase cooperation and communication with Israel.
Senator Lucio Milan of Italy called the guidelines “unacceptable” and said they do not have the approval of European Parliamentarians or member states.
“It is incoherent with the policy of the EU and its state members,” Milan added. “I will do my best to ask the Italian government to request the withdrawal of these guidelines.”
Canadian MP James Lunny encouraged people to visit industrial zones in the West Bank that provide employment for thousands of Palestinians, saying that the EU directive will hurt them.
According to Danon, the EU sanctions make the Palestinians think they have no reason to negotiate, since they are getting what they want without dialogue.
“Real, viable peace comes from negotiations between Israelis and the PA. Boycotts don’t promote peace in our region,” he said.
Danon thanked the parliamentarians for their support saying, “You had the opportunity to travel in Judea and Samaria and see that most of it is vacant, without Jews or Arabs there. It is disputed territory, according to international law, not occupied territory.”
The Likud deputy minister also asked the lawmakers to make sure to say Judea and Samaria, not West Bank or occupied territories.
“It is important to change the language; we have been on the defense for too long.
We need to talk about the rights of Jews to the Land of Israel without being apologetic,” Danon stated.
Seth Frantzman contributed to this report.
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