President Shimon Peres will embark on a week-long state visit to Brussels, Paris
and Strasbourg on Tuesday to present the case for Israel to various European
leaders, the secretaries-general of NATO and the OECD and the 754-member
European Parliament in Strasbourg.
He will be the first Israeli leader to
address the European Parliament in its current format of representatives of the
27 member states of the European Union.
In the President’s Bureau, the
visit is regarded as nothing short of historic, especially in view of the fact
that EU consuls stationed in Jerusalem and Ramallah have recently recommended
imposing sanctions on Israel while ignoring the refusal of the Palestinian
Authority to respond to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call to return to
the negotiating table.
Peres will emphasize Israel’s declared agreement
to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and will point out
that if sanctions are taken against goods produced by Israelis living in the
West Bank, Palestinians will suffer the negative fallout because many of them
depend on their livelihood from Israeli-owned enterprises beyond the Green Line.