EU paper unlikely to threaten Israel with sanctions

Draft supports right of Palestinian statehood; states that "legitimacy of the State of Israel must never be called into question."

European Parliament meeting 311 (photo credit: AP Photo/Christian Lutz)
European Parliament meeting 311
(photo credit: AP Photo/Christian Lutz)
A statement to be issued by the EU foreign ministers following a meeting on Monday in Brussels is not expected to call for sanctions against Israel, or for the imposition of a Mideast settlement if progress is not made, as 26 former EU leaders called for in a letter last week.
A draft of the EU foreign ministers’ “Conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process” obtained by The Jerusalem Post that is expected to be adopted by the 27 EU foreign ministers is not significantly different from a similar resolution last year.
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While noting “with regret” that Israel did not agree to an extension of a construction moratorium, and stating the EU opinion that the settlements are “illegal under law and an obstacle to peace,” the draft statement stops short of the recommendations by the former EU officials – including former EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana – to make an upgrade of relations with Israel contingent on cessation of Jewish construction in the West Bank.
The draft statement alludes to efforts to delegitimize Israel, but in wording that is likely to be criticized in Jerusalem as false equivalence, states that “the legitimacy of the State of Israel and the right of Palestinians to achieve statehood must never be called into question.”
The draft statement says the EU foreign ministers “reiterate our views on the status of Jerusalem and repeat our call for all parties to refrain from provocative unilateral actions and violence.”
Sticking to the formula from 2009, the draft resolution reads that the “EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties. This could include agreed territorial swaps. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states. The EU calls for an agreed, just, fair and realistic solution to the refugee question.”
The resolution states that the “council reiterates its readiness, when appropriate, to recognize a Palestinian state,” but stops well short of threatening to do so if one particular deadline or another is not met.
The statement, which characterizes the moves Israel has taken to ease the restrictions on Gaza as “limited and insufficient,” makes no mention of continued rocket fire from the Strip or of Hamas.