A day after the government slammed EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton for
meddling in Israeli judicial matters via a statement issued in her name, the
statement about a Palestinian’s conviction for incitement to attack IDF soldiers
was placed on the European Council’s Web site on Thursday in the name of her
Wednesday’s statement, which raised Israeli ire for expressing
concern about the conviction of Abdallah Abu Rahma in an Israeli military court,
was issued as a “Statement by EU High Representative Catherine
On Thursday, the EU’s Web site had the statement under the
heading “Statement by the Spokesperson of High Representative of the
Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.”
In the world of diplomacy, this
tiny difference is not without significance.
As one diplomatic official
explained, there are three types of statements that come out of Ashton’s
The first and strongest statement is issued by the High
Representative in the name of the EU, and is a statement she makes after
consultation with the EU’s foreign ministers.
The level under that is a
statement issued in her name, which is a category of statements that she
make on her own. And the lowest level is a statement issued by the
of the High Representative.”
Israeli officials said the fact that the EU
changed the level shows that there was a lack of coordination regarding
issuing of the statement, which Israel viewed as an unprecedented
its transparent judicial affairs.
This, one official said, just shows
that Ashton’s office is not yet up and running smoothly. The statement
issued while Ashton was on vacation.
Darren Ennis, a spokesman for
Ashton, told The Jerusalem Post
from Brussels that the “substance of the
statement stands,” and that the difference between the two versions was
a technical typo in the header of the statement.”
The statement said
Ashton was “concerned by the conviction” of Abu Rahma, and deeply
the possibility of his imprisonment was “intended to prevent him and
Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against
existence of the separation barriers in a nonviolent manner.”
is one of the organizers of the weekly protests at Bil’in against the
security barrier, and he was convicted in military court on Tuesday of
protesters to attack IDF soldiers and for participating in protests
permit. Sentencing is scheduled for next month.
spokesman Yigal Palmor said on Wednesday that “interfering with a
legal procedure of a democratic country is not just highly improper, but
hardly consistent with promoting European values.”
Ennis said of
Jerusalem’s reaction that the “Israeli government is well within its
react in the way it sees fit, but the EU stands by its position.”
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